Archie Panjabi, who plays sly, sexy investigator Kalinda on CBS drama “The Good Wife,” has stepped into some different boots off-screen, as she has become a Rotary Polio Eradication Ambassador. Panjabi will be speaking at a World Polio Day panel in Chicago Thursday (Oct. 24) — live stream here beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT — and she tells Zap2it it’s a cause near and dear to her heart.
“Shen you choose to do any charitable work, I think it’s important to find something you have a deep connection with,” says Panjabi, a British native who lived in India for a time as a young girl.
“I’m connected with polio because it’s something I witnessed children suffering from at a very young age when I briefly spent a couple of years in India. I didn’t actually know it was polio at the time, but when I was asked to be an ambassador, I looked it up and I realized what it was and it was instantly something I wanted to be connected with.”
The panel in Chicago features talks from Dr. Bruce Aylward, the world’s top expert on polio eradication from the World Health Organization; Dennis Ogbe, a Nigerian-born polio survivor, Paralympian and Shot@Life ambassador for polio eradication; and Dr. Robert Murphy, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Global Health, plus Panjabi herself will be speaking.
“It is really to talk about what we’ve achieved, because people forget that it has been eradicated from a number or countries. There were something like 350,000 in the 1980s and today’s that boiled down to only 280,” says the Emmy-winning actress. “But it is beginning to spread again and if it does spread and we don’t continue to fight to eradicate it, it’s estimated that 10 million children will suffer from it in four decades. It’s really important too say yes, we are one percent away, but we still have a battle.”
“On a larger scale, if we eradicate this and we’re able to reach all those children in those remote areas, just think about what we can do with other vaccines,” she continues. “Something like 1.5 million children die a year from a vaccine-preventable disease. … It’s an exciting day and an important day, I’m really pleased that I was able to make it.”