Why we will eradicate polio in Nigeria

A boy in the displaced persons camp waves at the visiting team.

By Carol Pandak, Director of PolioPlus for Rotary International

As we drove away from the Muna camp for Internally Displaced Persons on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the capital city of restive Borno State in Nigeria, a young boy dressed in brown tunic and pants gave us a  friendly, somewhat surprised wave.

At 60,000 inhabitants, the camp had doubled in size since the same time last year as conflict continues to push people from their homes. My visit to the camp was the final stop on a trip to Nigeria with the Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, Mike McGovern, on the occasion of the country having not reported a case of polio for a year. But while we marked the date on the calendar, the visit was not celebratory.  Continue reading

My dad’s battle with polio

Michelle Provan and her dad, Robert, who died in 2006 from pulmonary complications stemming from postpolio syndrome.

By Michelle Provan

During the 1950s, shortly after World War II, polio had a rampant outbreak in Chicago. I remember my dad, Robert Provan, telling the story of how he went to play at Evergreen Park, taking a sip of cool water from a drinking fountain, and believing that is where he caught the deadly disease at age five.

He was diagnosed with the worst type of polio. It instantly affected his entire body, and he was paralyzed from the neck down. He also spent time in an iron lung. My grandparents tried a couple of specialists to no avail. In fact, they were told to institutionalize him, a practice that was common during this time. They were told, “He is a burden to the family, and he belongs in an institute. Just let him die.” Continue reading

Overcoming obstacles to polio eradication in Pakistan

A Rotary volunteer administers polio drops to a child missed by earlier rounds in Pakistan.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

By Alina A. Visram, manager, Pakistan National PolioPlus Committee

When I first joined Pakistan’s PolioPlus Committee (PNPPC) as a manager close to eight years ago, polio eradication seemed within our reach. I used the opportunity to study poliomyelitis beyond just perceiving it as “a crippling disease.” I researched the causes and consequences; the types of polio virus; modes of prevention; and how elusive the virus can be given the right conditions. Continue reading

The beginning of my Rotary story: polio drops in India

Administering polio drops during an immunization trip to India.

Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of posts from polio eradication volunteers, Rotary staff, and survivors in honor of World Polio Day 24 October.

By Nancy Barbee, past governor of District 7730 (North Carolina, USA)

Picture a small town country girl from North Carolina on her way to India for the first time with her 12-year-old son. A personal mission to visit friends in the remote state of Bihar was the beginning of my Rotary story that has lasted for more than a decade. Continue reading

Polio eradication: when the impossible becomes possible

Night at the Park attendees learn about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.

By Jim Ferguson, governor-elect of District 7550 (West Virginia, USA)

Why did I become a Rotarian? Was it fellowship, networking, building a resume, or some other reason?  For me it was about the chance to add purpose to my life and make a difference. And eradicating polio is very important to me.

My amazing mother had polio and I witnessed firsthand how it affected her life. Despite her disability she raised 9 children during some very rough times. Continue reading

My mom was a Polio Pioneer

By Richard J. Fox, Rotary Club of Charlotte-Shelburne, Vermont, USA

Since joining Rotary in 2011, I have been impressed by its commitment to eradicating polio from the world through its End Polio Now campaign. That said, polio never resonated with me as a significant cause.

I was generally aware of polio’s impact throughout history: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the March of Dimes, iron lungs, and the polio panic here in the United States. But it wasn’t personal to me; it was something of the previous generation, abstract, to which I had no emotional investment.

And then my mom went and showed me how wrong I was. Continue reading

How is your club celebrating Rotary’s anniversary?

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Rotary clubs around the world will mark Rotary’s 112th anniversary by holding fundraisers, illuminating famous buildings, and hosting events of all sorts. We’ll add a sampling of photos from around the world to this gallery. Send us one from your club’s celebration. Please include a brief description.

Why I have come to love India

Cynde Covington administers drops of the polio vaccine

Cynde Covington administers drops of the polio vaccine during a previous visit in India.

By Cynde Covington, Rotary Club of Southpoint, Jacksonville, Florida, USA, and Zone 34 team leader

This is our fourth National Immunization Day (NID) trip to India and our third leading the NID Team from Rotary International Zone 34. I have fallen in love with this magnificent, beautiful country and the people who live there. Continue reading

5 reasons to make a year-end gift to The Rotary Foundation

By Rotary Voices staff

There’s still time to make your year-end gift to The Rotary Foundation. Here are a few ways that your support is helping to change lives all over the world: Continue reading

Sing, Dance, and Keep India Polio-Free!

Selfies at a Khera Khurd polio rally

So much warmth, hospitality, and joy at the polio rally in Khera Khurd, a village on the outskirts of Delhi. And so many fun selfies! #endpolio

ingridBy Ingrid Schwab, Rotary staff

Amit says it feels like our team has been in India for a week, but really it’s been about two days. It definitely feels like a lifetime. This is the first Rotary staff Sub-National Immunization Day (SNID) trip to India, and our schedule is full of activities to experience and understand the fight to end polio. On this day, our colleagues at Rotary’s National PolioPlus office, Amit, Lokesh, and Deepak, arranged for us to take part in a polio awareness rally in Khera Khurd, a village on the outskirts of Delhi. Continue reading