50 million Indians are estimated to be carriers of the Hepatitis-B virus. The Rotary Club of Delhi Garden City has partnered with the Liver Care Foundation to educate the population at large about liver diseases with a focus on Hepatitis B virus, and immunize underprivileged children aged 6-17 years that do not qualify for government immunization programs.
In 2009-10, our club conducted a successful immunization pilot program that covered 610 children at three locations:
- Balgram, Village Rai, Sonepat (150children)
- Seva Delhi, Sunder Nagri (160 children)
- Dr. AV Baliga Memorial Trust,Mangolpuri (300 children)
Based on the success of the pilot project, in 2011 we received a Matching Grant No. 74034 from Rotary International (with support from the Rotary Club of Ridgewood, Paramus and Glen Rock, New Jersey in Rotary District 7490 in USA) to undertake immunization of an additional 15,000 children in the underprivileged communities of northwest Delhi. The targeted children and their families were first educated about liver diseases, particularly Hepatitis. The Liver Care Foundation prepared a registry of children to be vaccinated and procured the informed and written consent from the parents of these children. Each child then received three doses of vaccination over 6 months to provide lifetime immunity from Hepatitis-B.
In the 2011-12 Rotary year, we were able to successfully immunize 13,485 children out of the initial target of 15,251 children - an overall success rate of 89% which was quite an achievement given the migrant nature of the target communities. Due to our low overheads, the overall cost including three doses of WHO-certified vaccines, medical personnel costs, and logistics cost about Rs 70 (US $ 1.30) per child !!
In 2012, based on a grant from the Women India Association, UK, we were able to immunize another 5,000 children.
RC Delhi Garden City's Hepatitis-B Immunization project was endorsed by the US India Business Council as part of its Coalition for a Healthy India initiative.
Given the extremely low cost per child for a successful immunization, we expect to continue this project in subsequent years based on the availability of funds.