Traveling to Nigeria to fight polio

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

By Ann Lee Hussey, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA.

As a 17-month-old toddler, I contracted polio. Burning up with fever, I was paralyzed from the waist down. It was July 1955, only three months after Jonas Salk’s vaccine was released to the public. I was lucky to regain the use of most but not all of my leg muscles. Today, after multiple surgeries, braces, and physical therapy, I am able to walk with limitations. Continue reading

One drop away from a polio-free life

Ade Adepitan with other polio survivors in Nigeria.

Ade Adepitan with other polio survivors in Nigeria.

By Ade Adepitan, polio survivor, United Kingdom broadcaster, and former Paraylmpian.

I contracted polio at the age of 15 months while living in Lagos, Nigeria. I had been given two drops of the polio vaccine, but the virus caught me before I had the third and final drop which would have protected me for life. Continue reading

Polio eradication is the latest fashion trend in Brazil

130830_gabbyBy Gabriela Simionato Klein, public relations specialist

If you take a walk through the Iguatemi, a luxury shopping mall in São Paulo, you can expect to see prestigious brand-name garments from all over the world. But if you strolled through the mall in early August, you’d also have seen the familiar red, white and yellow of the End Polio Now logo on T-shirts in the display windows of Forum Tufi Duek.

The display coincided with a special party the Brazilian label hosted for top model Isabelli Fontana, one of the latest people to become a Rotary Ambassador for polio eradication. Continue reading

The power of Rotary on display in Africa

By Marion Bunch, Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (formerly RFFA)

For three days in May, Rotarians from 365 clubs fanned out across Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa to help medical professionals and government workers provide free health services to 250,000 disadvantaged people.

Rotary Family Health Days, the third event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), was an incredible success! The program, initially developed to address the critical issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, has always included other health care services. This year, we conducted polio and measles immunizations, dental and eye clinics, family counseling and screening for HIV, diabetes and hypertension, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. Continue reading

Surplus equipment saves lives

Rotarians in British Colombia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer

Rotarians in British Columbia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer

By Chris Offer, past governor of District 5040 (British Columbia, Canada)

There is something almost magical about loading an infant incubator, which has kept hundreds of newborn babies alive in Canada, on board a ship and knowing it will continue to help children in Chile.

I recently had the opportunity to load a 40-foot sea container with medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Iquique, Chile. Continue reading

Climbing Mount Blanc to fight hunger

Amelie Zegmout atop Toubkal Mountain in Morocco earlier this year. Photo courtesy Amelie Zegmout

Amelie Zegmout on top of Toubkal Mountain in Morocco earlier this year. Photo courtesy Amelie Zegmout

By Angeli Mendoza, a Rotary Peace Fellow and social media officer for the Asia office of the World Food Programme

Amelie Zegmout, a past vice-president of the Rotary Club of Jumeirah-Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is climbing Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, to support the work of the World Food Programme (WFP).

Amelie fell in love with mountains as a child, and discovered trekking for charity in 2003 when she climbed Kilimanjaro for a local non-governmental organization. This Ramadan, Amelia, who has lived in Dubai for 15 years, is challenging herself with a two-day “climb against hunger.” Continue reading

A tribute to a true hero of polio eradication

Ali Maow Maalin in 1977. Photo by John F. Wickett/WHO

Ali Maow Maalin in 1977. Photo by John F. Wickett/WHO

Editor’s note: Ali Maow Maalin, a district polio officer, passed away on 22 July in his home district of Merka, Somalia, due to a sudden illness. Below is a blog post by George R. Camp, a Rotary Foundation Cadre technical adviser and past governor of District 7230 (Bermuda and part of New York, USA), which appeared on our blog recently honoring Maalin.

Who are the true heroes of polio eradication?

Somalia, once polio-free, is again batting an outbreak of the virus. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there were 45 cases of polio in Somalia this year as of 9 July, nearly half the cases occurring worldwide in 2013. Continue reading

Health days event invests in the future of children

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik and the film crew in South Africa.

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik and the film crew in South Africa.

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik, senior media relations specialist for Europe and Africa in RI’s Zurich office, spent a week with a film crew in Johannesburg, South Africa, documenting the three-day family health day event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention.

“I believe God sent us the Rotarians”, says single mother Innocentia.

We are chatting in her family’s backyard, Innocentia is sitting on a wooden stool, and her baby is sleeping on her back, wrapped in a towel, while Grandmother Gloria is doing the laundry in a metal bucket. Continue reading

We’ve joined the World’s Biggest Commercial, won’t you?

Lisa Hebson

Lisa Hebson

By Lisa Hebson, a participant in the World’s Biggest Commercial and resident of Evanston, Illinois, USA. Hebson’s brother-in-law is a creative director at SCC, the ad agency that helped develop the commercial for Rotary.

My brother-in-law is very enthusiastic about Rotary’s “This Close” campaign. It is a really exciting collaboration of people.

A few weeks ago, I promised him I would take 100 photos of people for the World’s Biggest Commercial. It would be my gift to him, and a challenging goal for me to strive for in the new year. Continue reading

One polio survivor to another: meeting India’s last case of polio

Polio survivor and Rotarian Ramesh Ferris meets Rukhsar Khatoon, India's last reported case of polio.

Polio survivor and Rotarian Ramesh Ferris meets Rukhsar Khatoon, India’s last reported case of polio.

By Ramesh Ferris, a member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada

This month, around the second anniversary of India going polio-free, I traveled to southern India to meet my biological father for the first time. Rotary International also arranged for me to meet another special person, Rukhsar Khatoon, who at 13-months of age, contracted the last reported case of polio in India in 2011. Continue reading