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

Eyewitness to polio immunization days in Nigeria

Nigerian Rotaractor Obiya Williams (center) with other independent monitors during National Immunization Days. Photo courtesy of Obiya Williams

Nigerian Rotaractor Obiya Williams (center) with other independent monitors during National Immunization Days. Photo courtesy of Obiya Williams

By Obiya Williams, a member of the Rotaract Club of Abakaliki, Nigeria

During the second week of January, I was invited by a friend to a seminar in Abakaliki organized by the World Health Organization to train youth to assist in monitoring immunization efforts. At the end of the program, they conduct a test.

Luckily for me, I received a text several days later congratulating me for my test results and inviting me to serve as an independent monitor with a team taking part in National Immunization Days in February. After four days, I did not want it to end. Continue reading

Glimpses of polio immunization in Côte d’Ivoire

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This gallery contains 10 photos.

By Stuart Cleland, a producer in RI’s Broadcast Media Department Our trip to observe the National Immunization Days in Côte d’Ivoire is now a blur of early starts; long car rides through traffic jams; missed lunches; intense interviews with Rotarians … Continue reading

Documenting polio eradication in Côte d’Ivoire

A Rotary volunteer marks a door during National Immunization Days in Côte d’Ivoire. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

A Rotary volunteer marks a door during National Immunization Days in Côte d’Ivoire. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Producers Stuart Cleland and Kate Benzschawel, and photographer Alyce Henson, members of RI’s Broadcast Media Department, are spending 18 days in Africa documenting Rotary projects. The first half of their journey is in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), which held National Immunization Days beginning 26 April. The nation’s last case of polio occurred in July 2011. Cleland filed this post.

Monday, 22 April, was our first full day in Abidjan. The main part of it was a visit to the offices of the World Health Organization or, as it’s called here in French-speaking Côte d’Ivoire, Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS). Continue reading

Rotarians step up polio eradication efforts in Pakistan

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This gallery contains 8 photos.

By Aziz Memon, Pakistan National PolioPlus Committee Chair At the End Polio Summit in Islamabad, Rotarians committed to help make Pakistan polio free through advocacy with government and religious leaders, immunizing migrant children at transit points, and conducting health camps … Continue reading

Reflections from a polio immunization team to Nigeria

Members of the National Immunization Days team to Nigeria. Photo courtesy of Richard Rivkin

Members of the National Immunization Days team to Nigeria and their hosts. Photo courtesy of Richard Rivkin

By Richard Rivkin, assistant governor of District 6440 (Illinois, USA)

I have been home for several days now, decompressing and reflecting on what we have accomplished during our polio immunization team’s trip to Nigeria. It seems like so long ago that the idea of organizing a trip to Nigeria was first conceived.  Continue reading

Two sides to the polio eradication effort

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

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

Service Above Self more than a slogan

Jerry Casey

Jerry Casey

By Jerry Casey, husband of Rotarian Patrice Putnam of Maine, USA, and part of a team taking part in National Immunization Days in Nigeria in December

I came to join this team through my wife’s participation in Rotary and our attendance at one of Ann Lee Hussey’s presentations about polio eradication. Until now, I have been mostly an armchair traveler, with a world-view shaped and limited by my own choices of books and media.  Continue reading

Immunization team overcomes a mother’s reluctance to deliver life-saving polio vaccine

Julia Yank

Julia Yank

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

Meeting a polio survivor in Nigeria

Al Bonney

Al Bonney

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