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Youngsters declare cyber war on polio

From politics to personal matters, blogs talk about all and sundry issues. Here’s one dedicated to fighting polio.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2008 00:57 IST
Rhythma Kaul

From politics to personal matters, blogs talk about all and sundry issues. Here’s one dedicated to fighting polio.

Almost a year ago, a group of four bloggers — in their mid-twenties — felt they could use this tool for a social cause like spreading awareness on polio. Thus, in November 2007, Swabhiman (http://swabhimanpolio.blogspot.com) was born.

“Swabhiman is an initiative to reach out to the public and also the authorities responsible for eradicating polio,” said
Nymphia Vishin, one of the core members of the group that created this blog and a communication consultant by profession.

“More than a group I would call it a confluence of like-minded friends,” she said.

A blog that began as an initiative of a group of friends now has friends of friends contributing articles on the subject.

But why polio? And pat comes the reply. It is one of the most neglected diseases at the moment. “We realised that talking about HIV, malaria or TB is in fashion but not many people talk about polio these days, though the disease is very much there,” said Vishin.

The group came to know about some cases of children getting the virus despite having taken the shots. That is how they began research on the disease and the blog provides vital information about polio and ways to prevent it.

The blog also hits out at the pulse polio programmes for failing to achieve their aim.

Swabhiman has members who are polio victims and are fighting odds to make a place for themselves in this world.

Thirty-five-year-old ace shooter Naresh Kumar Sharma, an Arjuna awardee, who bagged fifth place in the Beijing Olympics, is one such name. He had a polio attack when he was six months old.

“I never thought I was disabled. In school, I took part in almost every sport and was one of the mischievous kids,” he said.