By David Goodstone, Rotary senior writer
As a writer, I’m always looking for metaphors and similes, especially in unfamiliar places, searching for the right phrase to tell a story.
On my first Rotary trip to India with Rotary Polio Ambassador Minda Dentler, the story I was seeking to tell was the work of Rotary members and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. My task was easy. For in India’s sights, objects, and even signs, rich metaphors are abundant.
Take this sign on the back of a ubiquitous Tata truck: “Obey the Traffic Rules.”
Tata truck in India
Ethiopian children watch the immunization volunteers.
By Corinne Cavanaugh
As I walked up to a pile of dirt bricks beside a cottage in a small village in Ethiopia, I noticed two things immediately: the telltale odor of farming and the mouth sores of four small children. I will never forget the moment I saw those children, the first of many who received two life-saving drops of polio vaccine.
Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis, usually of the legs. In a developing country, polio paralysis could mean crawling around Continue reading
By Sujan Pradhan
In June, members of my Rotary Club of Kakarvitta, Jhapa, Nepal, inspected 15 polio immunization booths around the municipality of Mechinagar, on the border of Nepal and India. The Nepal PolioPlus Committee had declared a National Immunization Day on 23 May, but due to the major earthquake in April, our inspection was postponed to early June. We visited booths from urban areas to far rural areas, and distributed banners, pamphlets, and water bottles to the volunteers at each booth. Continue reading
A child who tested positive for polio in Pakistan.
By Jewat Sunder, Rotary Club of Khipro Sunders, Pakistan
I recently traveled to the Sanghar District of Pakistan to meet the parents of a child who had tested positive for polio. Rotary members were taking part in immunizing children against polio during a one-day drive.
Seeing the child reminded me all the more why we must eradicate this disease. The parents cooperated with me in distributing vaccination information, and I handed out End Polio Now caps, pencils, and balls. Continue reading
A child is immunized against polio.
By Steve Crane, a member of the Rotary Club of Seattle, Washington, USA, and a polio survivor. Crane has been appointed district polio eradication advocacy chair by successive governors in District 5030.
Rotary members are being asked if recent headlines mean there is some doubt about ending polio for good. Our answer is that the end of polio in India is the headline to remember.
We are at the heart of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a partnership of Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many national governments. Rotary has contributed $1.3 billion to the GPEI through PolioPlus. And it is committed to adding up to $105 million per year over the next four years through the End Polio Now: Make History Today campaign. Continue reading
Ken Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Burlington, Kansas, USA, during the immunization trip. Photo courtesy 2012 NID Team
By Al Bonney, 2014-15 Governor of District 6290 (part of Ontario, Canada; part of Michigan, USA), and a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan
The sun was just peaking pink and yellow over the roof tops of the soon-to-be-busy street when our team of 15 Rotary members sleepily descended from the bus on the first day of the three-day National Immunization Day trip. Continue reading
A child is immunized against polio in Nepal.
By Rotary staff
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) today will declare the South-East Asia region of the World Health Organization as polio-free, an important milestone in the worldwide effort to eradicate polio. The 11 countries in the region — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste — are home to 1.8 billion people and represent the fourth of six regions worldwide to be officially certified polio-free.
Karen Teichman administers the polio vaccine to a child in Uttar Pradesh, India.
By Karen Teichman, a past district governor and member of the Rotary Club of Lewisburg Sunset, Pennsylvania, USA
One of my teammates on a National Immunization Day trip to Uttar Pradesh, India, snapped this picture while I wasn’t looking. Giving these drops was like a religious moment for me – I was holding back tears thinking about the child’s life I was helping save. Continue reading
Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, governor of Maharashtra, India, administers the polio vaccine to a child being held by former Trustee Ashok Mahajan. Looking on is the governor’s wife (left) and Rajashree Birla, who has contributed more than US$7 million for polio eradication.
By former Foundation Trustee Ashok Mahajan
Since 1993, I have been deeply involved in the polio eradication program, Rotary’s top priority, both as a member of Rotary and in various leadership positions. I have many strong memories of the challenges, triumphs and setbacks we’ve faced along the way as we pursued ending this crippling disease in my country.
One thing I will always remember is the extensive efforts we made to build goodwill and acceptance of polio immunization in the Muslim community and among religious leaders. Continue reading
A mother seeks the polio vaccine for her child during immunization activities in southern Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of John Adams
By John Adams, a member of the Rotary Club of Somerset-Pulaski County, Kentucky, USA
At first, I thought the pull on my volunteer’s vest was one of the 50 or so village children who were following us, touching me to see if I was indeed real, because I was so different from them. But this was more than a child’s curious touch; it was a pull that caused me to lose my balance.
I turned in the direction of the pull to find it was not a playful child; but a determined mother, holding an infant. I will never forget her expression. I had no idea what she said in her dialect of Amharic or the local tribal language, but I knew exactly what she wanted. Continue reading