Mothers support latest NIDs in Mali…

The last day of the NIDs on May 31 in Mali, saw the arrival of the ball in Bamako safely in the hands of Dr Boubacar Niambele, Chairman of the Mali NPPC. Mothers had brought their children in droves to be vaccinated in the three-day window allocated for NIDs in Mali, where the commitment for a polio-free Mali and Africa, is intense. In Mali one case has been reported (compared with 1 for the same period in 2009). Onset of paralysis of the most recent case: 06 Mar 2010.

The NIDs  (National Immunisation Days) had been well signposted along the way ….

Rotarians, under the auspices of El Hadj Konaté, Chairman of the Polio Eradication Committee of Mali, together attended  the opening of the three day high-powered Conference on Nutritional Health being held in Bamako. This was at the invitation of the Minister of Health Mr Ousmane Touré, well-known for his public acknowledgement and appreciation of Rotary International’s polio eradication efforts. Seen in the photograph above are L-R President El Hadj Konatém, Ashok Mirchandani and NPPCF Chair (Mali) – Boubacar Niambele.

Ashok Mirchandani writes: “All the players in the health sector and those involved in the well-being of children were present. This provided an ideal  backdrop for the presentation of the ball to the protagonists concerned under the watchful and delighted eye of the TV & media”.

The signing ceremony took place at the reception following the Conference attended by éminente personalities from different horizons and all walks of life, in a happy, convivial atmosphere.

The Minister of Health Ousmane Touré (left), like others present, were all well aware that the President of the Country – Ahmadou Toumani Touré (aka ATT) – had given his undertaking to the Vice Chair of the ARPPC – Ashok Mirchandani – to sign the the ball at the 2010 African NID flagoff on 6th March. This was not possible as President ATT was  in Nice (as were most African Heads of State) for the France Africa  Summit, where advocacy for Polio was expected to be tabled. 

“ATT has always taken the lead in advocating the eradication of Polio to his peers, in particular when he was President of the National Committee for piloting NIDs against Polio, before becoming President” writes Ashok. The Current President, El Hadj Konaté, who too had awaited the arrival of the ball along with thousands of Malians since March, also took an active part and signed the ball along with the NPPC Chair. The Representative of the District Governor Saibou Maiga signed the autograph booklet.

An incident well worth noting writes Ashok is that “during my speech at the NID flagoff in March, I took a break from the prepared speech and spoke about the ball and its historic journey and origins of KPOA which ATT had pursued vigorously himself for 15 years. When I asked him if he would sign the ball when it came to Mali, the President gave a spotaneous affirmative gesture. The roar from the football loving Malian crowd was deafening.  At the end of the ceremony I was mobbed by children, all asking for the ball. If I had one there, an instant football match would have commenced in that playground of this township on the outskirts of Bamako!”

On the conclusion of the event DHL took possession of the ball which is now  en route to Niger …

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