RI Director Gideon Peiper looks at a patient recovering from cataract surgery during an eye camp in Lagos, Nigeria, in October.
By Suman Ramesh, a member of the Rotary Club of Lago-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria
Seeing the joy on people’s faces when they receive their sight back is an unforgettable experience.
Every year, the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria, sponsors an eye camp with medical staff from the Eye Institute in Navsari, India, treating nearly a thousand patients in the Nigerian states of Lagos and Ogun spread over 10 days. Continue reading
Pulmão de Aço (Iron Lung), published this year in Brazil, tells the story of Eliana Zagui, a polio survivor who has lived for decades in a hospital in Brazil.
By Eliana Zagui, author of Pulmão de Aço (Iron Lung)
Before it was eradicated through the effort of massive immunization campaigns in 1989, poliomyelitis was prevalent in Brazil. The lack of vaccine and poor sanitation in small towns resulted in thousands of victims a year. Avoiding polio was often a matter of luck.
In January 1976, at the age of two, my luck ran out. I woke up with a fever and weak lower limbs. Although my parents were used to my recurrent episodes of sore throat, they brought me to the nearest city of Jaboticabal for medical treatment. The next day, lacking a diagnosis, I was sent to Ribeirão Preto, a larger city with better medical facilities. By the time the doctors Continue reading
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
Rotarians in Mexico promote polio eradication during the Panamerican Car Race.
By Leticia Parra, a member of the Rotary Club of Bellavista-Atizapan
Rotarians in Mexico were proud to be part of a great effort to publicize Rotary’s work in eradicating polio. During the Panamerican Car Race 19-22 October, more than 100 cars were decorated with End Polio Now stickers as they raced 3,100 kilometers (about 1,900 miles) across Mexico.
Drivers took part in events each day where they discussed the importance of ridding the world of the disease. Continue reading
By Tim Ryan, a member of the Rotary Club of Toledo, Ohio, USA
I was in Abuja, Nigeria, last month as part of a team taking part in National Immunization Days (NID). I danced with nurses at lunchtime. I had lots of fun. I did not want to leave.
The entire team met committed doctors, saw lots of polio victims (mostly children), and took many photos. Experience has shown that by aiding polio victims from the local infected communities, Rotarians help the families become the best advocates for polio immunization. Continue reading
Rotarians in Argentina display an End Polio Now banner at River Plate soccer stadium. From left José Luis De Laurente, Roberto Fontanella, Federico Frangiosa, Marcelo Frangiosa and Javier Costalonga. Photo courtesy of District 4855
By Marcelo Enrique Frangiosa, governor of District 4855 (Argentina)
On Sunday, 2 December, our district had a very busy and very happy day. It started with a “Polio Plus Fellowship Asado,” a barbecue where more than 150 Rotarians and friends celebrated their friendship, while raising funds for polio.
After taking a “This Close” photo, part of the district polio plus committee and I rushed to the River Plate Stadium to focus even more attention on the polio eradication efforts. Our team circled the soccer stadium proudly displaying the End Polio Now banner. Continue reading
Nigerian Health Minister C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu takes part in a polio-corrective surgery during the medical mission.
By Rajiv Pradhan, past governor of District 3132 and primary project contact for the medical mission to Nigeria
The medical mission to Nigeria was a life-changing experience for the Indian doctors who took part and for the children who underwent polio-corrective surgeries.
The orthopedic surgeons, all with experience in these types of surgeries, came from all corners of India. Many more surgeons and anesthesiologists wanted to join than we had room for on the team. Continue reading
By Julia Yank, a member of the Rotary club of St. Clair County Sunset, O’Fallon, Illinois, writing from Nigeria as part of a team taking part in National Immunization Days
When my mother asked if I would go to Nigeria for a National Immunization Day to assist in the eradication efforts against polio, I had no way of imagining what lay ahead.
Being the daughter of past District Governors Greg and Catherine Taylor Yank, in District 6510, I have Rotary in my blood. Continue reading
By Al Bonney, a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan, USA, writing from Nigeria as part of a team taking part in National Immunization Days
Before this trip, I had never looked a polio survivor outside the United States in the eye, engaged him in conversation, and seen his pain, sadness, and even resignation.
As a Rotarian, I have been aware of Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio once and for all. But this was just two humans, mano a mano, seeking the same life of dignity and respect as the other, and it was my responsibility to communicate that respect and dignity. Continue reading
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. Hussey is one of 12 Rotarians being honored 5 April at the White House as a Champion of Change.
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