Rotary loses a strong voice for polio eradication in Pakistan

During a visit to the Site Town Polio Resource Center in Karachi in March, Robert Scott, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, presents flowers to a girl after immunizing her against polio. Behind is Abdul Waheed Khan, who headed the center until his tragic death in May. Photo courtesy of Aziz Memon

During a visit to the Site Town Polio Resource Center in Karachi in March, Robert Scott, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, presents flowers to a girl after immunizing her against polio. Behind is Abdul Waheed Khan, who headed the center until his tragic death in May. Photo courtesy of Aziz Memon

By Robert S. Scott, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Abdul Waheed Khan, who headed the Site Town Polio Resource Center in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, died tragically in an attack on 13 May that also wounded his daughter and brother.

Although not a Rotarian, Waheed, as he was known to friends, was a member of the Rotary Community Corps sponsored by the Rotary Club of Karachi. Due largely to his vision and leadership, the center not only provides immunization against polio and other diseases but also operates a school, a food program, and a vaccine storage facility. Continue reading

Rotarians step up polio eradication efforts in Pakistan

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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

Rotary condemns attacks targeting polio vaccinators in Pakistan

A child shows off the purple dye on his pinkie, a sign he has received the polio vaccine.

A child shows off the purple dye on his pinkie, a sign he has received the polio vaccine.

By Robert S. Scott, chair of the International PolioPlus Committee

Rotary International joins the Government of Pakistan and our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in condemning the recent attacks that have killed and wounded health workers in Pakistan.

The shooting victims are among the thousands of health workers and volunteers – including members of Pakistan’s 151 Rotary clubs – who are committed to saving children by stopping the transmission of polio in Pakistan, one of three countries where the crippling virus remains endemic. Continue reading

3,000 miles for 3 minutes: A global call to end polio

Bill Gates

By Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

This week, I am heading from Seattle to New York to speak for 180 seconds. I will be talking at a United Nations meeting about the fight to eradicate polio. I am very passionate on the subject, and I usually prefer to discuss it for hours at a time. In this case, however, I am happy to stop at three minutes. Because the reason my time is short is that so many people are committed to eradication we can barely all squeeze into the program. Continue reading

Proud to be a Rotarian

A boy has his pinkie marked to indicate he has received the polio vaccine. Photo courtesy of Dino Marzaro

Dino Marzaro, president of the Rotary Club of Quebec, Quebec City, Canada

I first discovered Rotary in 1998, when I joined the Rotary Club of Quebec City. For the past six years, I have tried to take part in a polio immunization trip every year, with the latest this July to Pakistan.

From 12-22 July, a team of three Rotarians from Quebec City, Canadian polio survivor and Rotarian Ramesh Ferris, and four Rotarians from the United States took part in immunization efforts in Karachi. Aziz Memon, chair of the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee, and Shaikh Jalaluddin, governor of District 3271, took care of our team from the minute we arrived. Continue reading

Progress in Pakistan for polio eradication

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By Robert S. Scott, Rotary International PolioPlus Committee chair

Rotary International is aware of the recent news reports on the polio vaccination program in Pakistan. We continue to work closely with our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the government of Pakistan to ensure our progress continues.

The good news is that Pakistan has recorded only half as many new polio cases so far this year as it had at the same time last year — this is the best proof that overall immunization coverage is improving as we adapt to the many challenges we continue to face in Pakistan.  Continue reading

Pakistan hockey tournament raises awareness for polio eradication

Children join a polio awareness walk before the final match of a hockey tournament in Faisalabad, Pakistan, with the theme of “End Polio Now/Make Pakistan Polio Free.” 

By Shehzad Ahmed, past governor of District 3272 (Afghanistan, Pakistan)

A hockey tournament involving 28 teams in Faisalabad, Pakistan, provided an ideal opportunity to reach hockey fans and encourage them to be a part of stamping out polio in Pakistan, one of the three remaining countries where transmission of the virus has never been stopped.

The Rotary Club of Lahore Garrison, Punjab, teamed up with the Paradise Hockey Club to organize the Fatima-Shah Muhammad Memorial Hockey Tournament in March. The theme of the tournament was “End Polio Now/Make Pakistan Polio Free.” Continue reading

Rotary and Coca-Cola Beverages team up to fight polio in Pakistan

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By Aziz Memon, Pakistan PolioPlus Commitee Chair  On 7 April, in honor of World Health Day, a team of Rotarians, Rotary partners, and employees from Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan joined forces to pick up garbage and conduct a cleanup campaign in Union Council … Continue reading

When women are on the team

Korea NID

A Rotarian from District 3700 (Korea) administers oral polio vaccine to a child at a health camp in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, in November. Photo courtesy of Young Han Kim

Harriet “Pepi” Noble is a Rotarian and author of the blog, A Noble Purpose.

It’s International Women’s Day and I’m celebrating and spreading the news that thousands of women on two continents play a major role in eradicating polio.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative tells the story of these female vaccinators and front line health care workers in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

And they are not working in hospitals or clinics, but in the field, traveling door-to-door, down back alleys to talk Continue reading