We Must Continue Polio Eradication

I get asked questions about why polio is still not eradicated yet. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative in their Polio Eradication Endgame Strategy called for the last transmission of polio causing infection by December 31, 2014. This would make one think there is no hope since we are now in the second half of 2016 and cases of polio are still happening.

One of my favorite projects that Rotary International runs is the Peace and Conflict Resolution programs. This includes training individuals with some background in the field to be that much more attuned to issues and how to resolve them. Perhaps there is some way graduates of the program could work on issues highlighted in the article at the following link. It discusses a doctor who was a senior member of the polio eradication effort in Pakistan being shot dead. Why would any thinking human being shoot such a doctor???

Pakistan Polio Official Shot Dead in Peshwar CLICK HERE


Bad News from Nigeria about Polio

Bad news from Nigeria. After being polio free for over a year, two new cases of Wild Polio Virus Type 1 have been discovered in NIgeria. Countries need to go through 3 years of no polio cases to be declared “Polio Free.”

If you are a Rotarian and particularly one that is in charge of raising funds in your club or district, this outbreak shows why it is very important to keep educating people about polio. It is not enough to set up campaigns where you ask for donations in an intense month of giving as if ending polio was a game played by piling up numbers of whatever. Donor fatigue will set in and polio will end up coming back because donors will begin to think there really is no end in sight. EDUCATE!!!!!

The following link will take you to an article describing Rotary’s recommitting itself to end polio worldwide.  CLICK HERE


Nigeria Celebrates 2 Years without New Cases of Polio

The polio virus is continuing to disappear from the face of the earth. As most of you know, I am a member of Rotary. In 1985, Rotary started PolioPlus to eradicate polio worldwide. Up until 2 years ago, there were only 3 countries left that were endemic to polio (sources of new wild virus).

On July 24, 2014, Nigeria started the 3 year period to prove it was now polio free. A country needs to have ZERO new cases for 3 years to be declared polio free. Because of certain political issues, there was a sense that Nigeria was one of the countries that would never be polio free since vaccinating against the polio virus was frowned upon by the government.

CLICK HERE to read an article about the current status in Nigeria. IT IS VERY GOOD NEWS!!!!

There are only 19 new cases of polio worldwide since January 1, 2016. This donw from over 300,000 new cases every year before 1985.


Science’s Role in Eradicating Polio

Find out how data and science have pushed us closer than ever to ending polio forever.

When polio has been eradicated, the infrastructure built and the processes developed to vaccinate billions of children against polio will remain in place. They will be used to control and probably eradicate other diseases.

Not a member of Rotary YET???  Get in touch with me and I will help you join.



Polio and Why It Has Not Yet Been Eradicated

As PolioPlus Chair for Rotary District 5170, I was asked by a club president why polio was still not eradicated. The following article gives one of the unfortunate reasons. But remember, the yearly new caseload worldwide was 350,000 to 500,000. Last year there were only 76 cases worldwide. This year, there are only 15. The current political conflict in Pakistan is the root cause of the 15. WE REALLY ARE THIS CLOSE!!!!

The Human Toll of Polio Eradication

       By Pat Killoran, Zone 24 West End Polio Now Coordinator

 The iconic polio story, a story told often and told well, makes a deserving headline. Rotary and its partners have achieved success beyond measure … success that should be shared far and wide, in every language and throughout the world. We can be proud of the results: only 76 wild polio cases in the world last year. We can be proud of the mobilization as the WHO leads an eradication effort that blankets the globe. We can be proud of the fundraising as all the partners including Rotary and Rotarians, WHO, governments, Bill Gates and others consistently meet the financial needs of the Polio Campaign.

 BUT, as the world celebrates, we must not forget that the price for polio eradication is more than money. The headlines on January 13, 2016, read “Suicide attack … in southwest Pakistan kills 15, mostly policemen”. This hints at the rest of the story. So let us remind ourselves of the human cost to polio eradication. The January 13 murders, like so many terrorist attacks and tragedies in our world, were on the front page of the newspapers one day and gone the next in favor of another story. It’s easy to tell ourselves that the attacks happened somewhere else, somewhere over there, allowing us to gloss over this tragic cost … allowing us to numb ourselves to the result.

We must remind ourselves: No matter how noble the cause, the loss of even one life matters. And this was not a unique event: There were similar headlines on December 29, 2015, one life in Afghanistan; March 11, 2014, 11 lives in Pakistan; March 17, 2014, two more; February 2014, four lives in Pakistan; February 2013, nine lives in Nigeria ; and there have been many more. In Pakistan alone there have been almost 100 murders associated with the polio campaign. In addition to the killings, polio workers and their families are targeted with death threats, harassment and blackmail causing disruption to families. 

 It’s critical to remember the commitment and sacrifice made by the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria to help the world finish the eradication effort. I am not sure how we value their contribution. What’s a human life worth? What are 100 human lives worth? Clearly, the costs have not only been money but also human life and suffering.

 So, if I debate with myself about a donation to PolioPlus … if I wonder if my donation should be $10 or $100 or $10,000 … then I should also wonder about the deaths of over 100 Afghans, Nigerians and Pakistanis. I should also wonder how their commitment to polio has affected their lives, their families and their communities. I should wonder how my financial gift will honor their sacrifice.

There is no doubt that we must stay focused on the goal of a polio free world, Rotary’s number one priority. We must stay committed to the children of the world. At the same time, we need to remember and be thankful for those, past, present and future, who have sacrificed their lives, rights and freedom for a polio-free world. They truly are a gift to the world … and we must never forget!