Patna: A Bihar woman health official is set to share stage with Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban for advocating girls` education in her country Pakistan, in New York next month, officials Thursday said.
Martha Dodray, in her mid-40s, is an auxiliary nursing midwife posted at Kusheshwarsthan primary health centre in the state`s Darbhanga district. She was selected by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) for her extraordinary work to eradicate polio.
"I am happy that UNF would honoured me for my work in polio immunization campaign at a function to be held at New York Nov 6, where Malala would be also be felicitated," Martha, a tribal native of Palamu district of neighbouring Jharkhand, said.
She said she walked several kilometres each day to reach remote and inaccessible villages to administer polio vaccine to hundreds of children, mostly belonging to poorest of the poor.
Darbhanga district magistrate Kumar Ravi said Martha has contributed in the polio vaccination drive in remote pockets of the flood-prone rural areas.
"Marha was recently selected as one of the best polio workers in India for her devotion and hard work in polio vaccination drive. Her name was recommended for the award ceremony in New York," Darbhanga civil surgeon UK Choudhary said.
Bihar has not reported a single case of polio in the last three years and has virtually remained polio free since August 2010.
State Health Secretary Sanjay Kumar, who is also executive director of Bihar State Health Society, said the state has become a near polio-free region as it has not recorded a single case of the disease. But Bihar will have to wait till Jan 14, 2014, to be officially declared a polio free state, when India too will be declared a polio-free country.