The United Nations has conferred the "UN Frontline Workers Global Leadership Award" on Martha Dodray, an Auxiliary Nurse & Midwife (ANM) from Darbhanga district of Bihar.
She represented the worldwide polio frontline workers, whose contribution to the cause of global health has been recognized and awarded by the United Nations Foundation this year.
Martha, who travels several kilometres a day under tough conditions in one of the most backward rural hinterland of Bihar to administer polio drops to children in the area, has been working day and night to ensure that polio is eradicated.
India has remained polio-free for almost three years now and will get a polio-free status in January next year if no more fresh case of polio virus is detected.
Martha is living alone in a Primary Health Centre without electricity and after leaving her own three children in far- away Jharkhand only to see that children of Bihar are polio-free.
"It is my duty to see that all children are free from polio virus and that is why I travel so many kilometres a day to administer polio drops to children going door to door in the interiors of Bihar.
"I hardly meet my children one or twice a year and I live where there is no electricity. But my zeal will not go till every child is made free from polio," she said after meeting officials in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, where she was felicitated.
The health worker, the only person from the Asian resgion chosen for the honour, has just returned from New York where she received the award.
WHO Representative in India Mata Menabde introduced her to Ministry officials and said that her effort was an "unthinkable" one. "It is a really important event for everyone of us to celebrate, as we move towards eradication of polio and getting a polio-free status," she said.
Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju said she was a role model to follow and others should emulate her in eradication of polio.


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