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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →