Katey Breen (President of Amelia Island Sunrise Club) briefed us on her visit to India as a part of National Immunization Day. Click below for more information!  



Katey Breen (President of Amelia Island Sunrise Club) briefed us on her visit to India as a part of National Immunization Day. National Immunization day is practiced throughout the world, and has a huge impact, with 172 million people immunized, most of them being children.
For those who missed it, Katey had many pictures that showed from the most pristine at the Taj Mahal, to miles of garbage piled up on the sides of the roads with animals rooting through for food.
Some facts that she shared about India- how the average age there is 25.1 versus 37 in the US, how 80% of marriages are still arranged, and how the children can have an affect on who their parents arrange the marriage to, as evidenced by the son of the host family that she stayed with imploring his parents to seek out the parents of a young lady whom he had met at college. Other facts she shared were that two in five over 15 years of age cannot read, and that one in four has a cell phone. With the high illiteracy come high poverty rates, with 22.1 percent of Indian’s living below the poverty line. Contrasting these figures, 38 percent of the world’s doctors come from India, as do 34 percent of Microsoft’s employees.
India started polio prevention in 1995 after having an alarming 50,000 cases in 1994. 172 million children under the age of five were immunized, and the number of cases dropped in 2010 to 1,700. In 2011 there has only been one reported case in India. In the location in Chandigarh that Katey was working, they averaged 400 immunizations a day, with a three day blitz. The first day they stood out at the major highways and motioned vehicles with children to the side of the road. The second day, they went through apartment complexes and the third day they went through the slums. Once immunized with the oral drops, the child’s pinkie was dyed purple. There were 17 locations in Chandigarh being operated, with coordination through the World Health Organization (WHO).

     (Above are an examples of the immunization and purple pinkie)
While there, Katey was able to meet Dr. Varghese, the world’s foremost orthopedic surgeon for polio patients. He has patented a system of a cast and screw type mechanism that allows the patient to turn the key a couple of times a day and straighten out an appendage that has been disfigured by polio. An example that she was able to share was a young man who’s legs bent at a 90 degree angle straight up and kept him from being able to sit at the table with his family, an Indian tradition. The before and after pictures were astounding, with the later picture being that of a young man who was able to walk out of his clinic with no discernable abnormality

In the question and answer segment, one asked if Katey felt safe while in India. She answered that everything was planned out and there wasn’t an opportunity for them to be out where they shouldn’t have been and be in harm’s way. She did state that all water should be consumed directly from a bottle, after ensuring that the seal was intact when received. She felt that at the major cities and nice hotels that the water quality was probably not an issue, but they we instructed not to take any chances. Another question was what type of immunizations were required. Katey said that there is a host of recommended injections, but one of her club members is a doctor who specializes in tropical medicine, and on her recommendation, she got a yellow fever and tetanus immunization. A very interesting point was brought up, referencing the high number of doctors in the world, coming out of such adversity as the huge numbers of people living below the poverty line. The overarching theme seemed to be that school in India is taken as serious as college is taken over here; with parents paying for elementary school through college, there is an intense pressure to deliver. Katey acknowledged that the caste system still exists in India, but seems to be diminishing with the increased globalization.