Financing polio eradication and development in Nigeria

A Canadian Rotarian immunizes a young girl against polio in Katsina, Nigeria. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux

A Canadian Rotarian immunizes a young girl against polio in Katsina, Nigeria. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux

By Quentin Wodon, president, Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., USA

As a lead economist at the World Bank, it has been exciting to see my organization step up to the plate and commit resources to the fight to eradicate polio, as we observe World Polio Day.

While the World Bank is not one of the spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the organization does work closely with the GPEI, of which Rotary is a leading partner, as well as country governments to provide financing to help end polio. Continue reading

I thought I’d never walk again

: Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

By Nancy Wright Beasley, a polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Brandermill, Virginia, USA

I thought I’d never walk again, but I did.

I thought I’d never talk about polio either, but I’ve regularly shared my childhood memories of the disease since joining the Rotary Club of Brandermill in 2005. I had been  invited to speak about my first book, Izzy’s Fire. That’s where I first learned about PolioPlus, and decided — that day — to join Rotary International’s fight to eradicate the disease. I often say that I’m the only speaker who gave a speech then never left.

I contracted polio in the summer of 1952, in the middle of one of the worst epidemics in U.S. history. Continue reading

The face of polio immunization in Pakistan

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By Rotary Voices staff

Nigeria’s last case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus was reported on 24 July 2014, and the African continent has had no reported cases since 11 August 2014. The World Health Organization (WHO) removed Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries on 25 September. When Nigeria and every country in Africa have gone three years without a case of polio, WHO will certify the region as polio-free. Continue reading

Voices of polio survivors

Ann Lee Hussey administers polio drops to a child in Chad in 2013.

Ann Lee Hussey administers polio drops to a child in Chad in 2014.

By Rotary Voices staff

Stories from polio survivors remind us why we have spent three decades committed to the pursuit of wiping this crippling disease from the face of the earth. Below is a brief summary and a link to a few of those stories shared on Rotary Voices and elsewhere. Also watch our World Polio Day global update to see how close we are to ending polio.

Ann Lee Hussey contracted polio when she was 17 months old. A member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA, she has taken part in countless National Immunization Day Continue reading

Life is hard enough without having to deal with polio

Ethiopian children watch the immunization volunteers.

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

Photos of World Polio Day events

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Rotary Voices staff

From the opening of a polio exhibit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, to the illumination of the Mohatta Palace in Karachi, Pakistan, Rotary members celebrated World Polio Day, observed 24 October, in a variety of ways. Here is a gallery of photos from different events. Submit yours to blog@rotary.org

Catch Rotary’s World Polio Day event on Livestream

141024_wpdBy Rotary Voices staff

Join the fight to end polio this World Polio Day be tuning in to our global update on Livestream, beginning 24 October, 18:30 Chicago time (UTC-5). The event will feature Jeffery Kluger, a senior writer at TIME Magazine; Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Minda Dentler, a paraplegic athlete and polio survivor; Tessanne Chin, winner of the fifth season of NBC’s TV singing competition The Voice; and Jamaican musician Ziggy Marley. Continue reading

Honoring Salk and Sabin by finishing the job of ending polio

Dr. John L. Sever discusses the origins of PolioPlus in this video recorded last year.

The following is an excerpt of an address given by Dr. Sever, vice chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, to the Innovations in Healthcare Symposium 23 October in New York, held to honor Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin for World Polio Day and the 100th anniversary of Salk’s birth.

I had the pleasure of knowing both Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin through our mutual participation at medical meetings, and when they would visit me at my offices and laboratories at the National Institutes of Health.

I remember in particular a medical meeting in Miami Beach, Florida, in the 1960s at which Dr. Sabin and I were both speakers. On the first morning of the meeting, my wife and I came down for breakfast. Dr. Sabin was sitting alone and invited us to join him. Continue reading

Five ways to take action on World Polio Day

141021_WPDgraphicBy Rotary staff

Join us in making history. When we finally rid the world of polio, it will only be the second time that a human disease has been eradicated (the first being smallpox). And we are “this close” to ending polio. Here are five easy ways you can get involved for World Polio Day, 24 October. Continue reading

Why does ending polio matter?

By Rotary Voices staff

On World Polio Day 24 October, Rotary will be hosting a live-streamed event including an update on our fight to end polio. Here are some links to polio-related resources and recent media articles. Continue reading