Doctors head to Nigeria on polio mission

The team has 12 orthopaedic surgeons, five anesthesiologists, a pathologist, a general surgeon and five volunteers

A team of 24 doctors and volunteers will soon fly from Mumbai on a 10-day mission to Abuja in Nigeria, one of the three countries where polio remains to be eradicated, to conduct surgeries to correct deformities arising from polio.

This is part of the India-Nigeria Polio Surgeries Mission, said former world president of Rotary International Rajendra K Saboo here. He had conceived the mission in 1998, the year he had taken a team of Indian doctors to Uganda. Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the remaining polio endemic countries, and as long as there is even one country affected by polio, it would endanger children everywhere, Saboo said.

"Certain sections of population in Nigeria is resisting immunization efforts due to misconceptions. We hope an initiative like polio corrective surgeries would help us send a message to people and create an atmosphere of faith in worldwide efforts to immunize children against polio," said Saboo. A similar situation was tackled in UP and Bihar where, through Rotary's efforts, camps were held in which nearly 4,000 children and adults underwent polio-corrective surgeries, he said.

The team has 12 orthopaedic surgeons, five anesthesiologists, a pathologist, a general surgeon and five volunteers. The team is drawn from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttarakhand. The doctors would take along specialized surgical equipment, medical supplies. In Nigeria, they would train local doctors in the procedures as well as making prosthetic limbs.

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