India’s Story of Triumph Over Polio is the story of India’s polio immunisation campaign, seen through the lens of five professional photographers sent to locations across the country to capture the essence of “the polio round’ and show India’s remarkable journey from having half of the world’s polio cases to celebrating three years of freedom from the disease.
In order to stop the world’s most aggressive reservoir of poliovirus, practically every child in this vast country needed to be found and reached with the oral polio vaccine, or ‘two drops of life’. It is a challenge that India embraced mobilizing over two million vaccinators to reach nearly 170 million children under five in each national campaign, ‘the polio round’.
This triumph over polio in India is due to the strong commitment of the government of India, its polio partners and, above all, the tireless hard work of millions of frontline workers – vaccinators, community mobilizers, and community health workers – who continue to implement innovative strategies and to keep polio out of India. Together, they stayed the difficult course to arrive at what is arguably India’s greatest public health achievement, by focusing on the one child missed with equal passion as the 99 who were vaccinated.
Documenting India’s Fierce Battle Against Polio
Anindito Mukherjee, Graham Crouch, Sandeep Biswas, Tim Georgeson and myself where assigned to various parts of the country to cover different aspects of the campaign.
My photographs for this project were taken in Patna, Darbangha, Jogbani and Khagaria, all in the state of Bihar. To see some more of my personal impressions from this assignment please see A Place at The End Of The Road.
For more earlier images of the polio campaign from 2004 please see Polio Eradication Initiative in India.
The New York Times slideshow of my images is here: Documenting India’s Fierce Battle Against Polio.
Sephi Bergerson is an Israeli-born photographer who has lived and worked in India since 2002 and photographed the country’s polio eradication campaign since 2004.