Meerut’s Gulzar looks beyond Oscar to a polio-free world

February 13th, 2009 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Feb 13 (IANS) Mohammed Gulzar - the name may not ring a bell. But this polio affected boy plays a key role in the 38-minute Oscar nominated documentary “The Final Inch” and says he is happy with the nomination. But the real victory will be saying “final goodbye to the wretched virus”.
“Oscar nomination is a great recognition. But the real victory will be when we will say a final goodbye to this wretched virus,” Gulzar said at an interactive session at the Uttar Pradesh Press Club here Friday.

“I have to live with the disease everyday and I do not want anybody else to have a life like mine. I want to tell everybody to ensure that they vaccinate their children,” he added.

Gulzar accompanies Munzareen Fatima, one of the thousands of foot soldiers across India working to eradicate polio.

Fatima is confident that very soon Meerut will be free of the virus.

“Meerut will be free from polio, so will be the rest of Uttar Pradesh and the world,” said Fatima, who also stars along with Gulzar in the documentary.

Fatima, who is part of a UNICEF initiative Social Mobilisation Network, says she goes from house to house every month updating the number of children in her area, reminding communities about the next vaccination round, tracking pregnant women and newborn children for routine immunization, addressing concerns of the vaccine resistant families and the community at large.

Directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, “The Final Inch” is a compassionate documentary that takes you on a journey into the heart of public health and the global mission to eradicate polio.

This documentary follows frontline polio workers across India as they mobilise and vaccinate children in an effort to eradicate the virus.

In the film, community based health and mobilization workers travel from disenfranchised Muslim communities to the villages and bustling metros like Mumbai, in an effort to dispel myths, misunderstandings and resistance and thus lower the refusal rate.

Kulsum Talha, General Secretary Media Nest, said a majority of journalists had missed the magic and drama behind the mobilization work of thousands of volunteers like Munzareen Fatima.

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