Health

Crawling in a 'polio-free' country

Updated 3:30 PM ET, Thu March 19, 2015
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Bipin Kumar was infected by polio when he was 5 years old. For the last 10 years, he has earned money by begging in a New Delhi bazaar. Photographer Elena del Estal befriended him last year. "I want to go to his village to meet his mother and keep taking pictures about his life because he is such a beautiful person," she said. Elena del Estal
An empty bed in the polio ward of St. Stephen's Hospital in New Delhi. The ward used to be filled with patients, but it was announced last year that the disease had been eradicated in the country. Elena del Estal
Emtiach lies on a street in New Delhi, begging for money in November. His left leg is thin and powerless because of polio. He came to the city from Bihar, one of the states that used to be most affected by polio. His wife is also affected by the disease. Elena del Estal
Dharmender has been affected by polio since he was 6 months old. In February 2014, he had surgery on his right knee and hip. Elena del Estal
Dharmender's father, Mahaveer, helps him to move on the bed a few days after his operation. Elena del Estal
A child is vaccinated at a train station in Kolkata, India, in January 2014. Transit stations have been key points for the Pulse Polio immunization program. Elena del Estal
A friend holds a cell phone to Kumar's ear as he talks to his mother in November. Elena del Estal
Dharmender lies on a bed in St. Stephen's Hospital a few days before his surgery. Even though his village was poor, his family took good care of him, del Estal said. Elena del Estal
Someone gives money to Kumar in November. "Indian people only give one or two rupees," he told del Estal. "I prefer foreign people; they give 10 rupees or more." Elena del Estal