She is busy in her mission. Her wish is to abolish polio from India. The 25 years old young lady is a devoted worker of polio elimination mission. She works for Polio Social Mobilization Network in Uttar Pradesh. She is among those 5660 committed people who are vigorously working for stop spreading polioacross the countryover the last four years. She is SabiyaRiyazuddin who lives in Aligarh, the busy city of Uttar Pradesh. Sabiya and her co- workers have been trying hard to reduce the number of the polio cases in Western Uttar Pradesh.
In 2001, the number of the cases were thirty, in 2009 the number came down into nine and in 2010 it was just became zero. UNICEF was enthusiastically established PSMNet in 2001 to wiped out Polio from the Western Uttar Pradesh by vaccination. Then slowly it was extended to the entire state and neighbouring state Bihar.
Sabiyais a Community Mobilization Coordinator for over four years. Her duty is to make sure that all children are vaccinated with oral polio every time when they offered them. It was a challenge for them to working in Jeevangarh, a highly polio prone area which is a Muslim suburb in Aligarh. It was a challenging work for Sabiya and her co-workers, because these people don’t believe that the polio vaccination is good for health. She tried to convince people with interactive communication with parents, family members about the need of the vaccine when she visited house to house or arranged group discussion with mothers. Even she met with religious leaders and influential people in the community in order to make them understand the importance of polio vaccination.
Sabiya is a soft-spoken, gentle, with slightly harsh voice. She is confident on her ability and her power to convince people. After five years of her job Aligarh has become polio free area. She is not an educated lady but she knows the importance of polio vaccination and her work. She married so early. Her husband and family supported her a lot so that she spends most of her time in field work and spreading awareness. She said about her daily planning, “I am very punctual. After namaz, I cook for my family, send my daughter to school and either work on field or visit the office. I always plan ahead”. Her main responsibility was to make a list of the children less than five years in the area, spreading the information about the need of vaccinating children against polio, spreading awareness of all seven crucial vaccines for childhood diseases and tracing the new born. Sabiya and her co-workers in the Polio Eradication Network also try to addressing on polio- related issues, like vaccination for various diseases, sanitation issues, cleanliness, such as, drinking clean water, washing hands before eating food, breast feed the new born for the first six months, curing diarrhoea with the use of zinc and oral rehydration solution. Sabiya thinks that her religion is helping her to communicate better in order to make these people understand the need of polio vaccination. She gets motivation to ensure that the place she is working for never complains any polio case ever.
SabiyaRiyazuddin is aresident of Kela Nagar in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. She has been working in Polio Social Mobilization Network from 2008. When she saw a Community Mobilisation Coordinator for the first time in Kela Nagar, she was impressed and Sabiya decided to work like her. Later she received a call about the vacancy. She learned about the polio eradication programme in three days training programme. She learned how she canmaintain the record of the vaccination, children under five years and the new born and led interpersonal communication with the families.
Sabiyaknows Aligarh and their people well. That is why she felt comfortable and felt easier to communicate with them. But initially people were doubtful to vaccinate their children. It was because of lack of the knowledge. She faced challenges to make those people understand that the vaccination is good for their child’s health. “When I initially started working as a CMC, I visited a family who had lost their child after being administered polio drops. It was a mere co-incidence, but they were under the misconception that this was due to the polio dose. They pushed and shoved me out of their home. I told them I was not there to talk about polio but to make friends with them. Two months later, they agreed to vaccinate their other children. Families are unaware about vaccination and its benefits. The first step is to tell them about it. I also tell them about other families who have vaccinated their children and how happy and healthy they are now” she said. Now the situation has changed in those areas. The community waits for Sabiya’s visit and inform her about the new birth. They knew the importance of vaccination and polio doses.
More than 170 million children under the age group of five have been vaccinated yearly in India through the Pulse Polio Immunisation programme. In 2014, an independent commission under the World Health Organization certification process certified South- East Asia; the home of the quarter of the world’s population is free from polio. WHO recognized India as a polio free country and presented the official certificate to the central health and family welfare minister Mr.GulamNavi Azad. After 2011 there was no polio case found in India. India started the mission to make the country polio free 19 years ago in 1995. On those days polio was a severe problem for the country. Every year more than 50 thousand children faced polio disease. India fought a tough fight with polio. Government arranged technological innovations like, India made original effective polio vaccine, close monitoring of polio programme, and immunization level reached full coverage. According to the government, almost 2.3 million team and one lakh fifty thousand supervisors worked day and right to reach each and every child in the country. SabiyaRiyazuddin is one of them who worked hard for the children of Aligarh to remove polio. She worked day and night to make Aligarh a polio free place.