NOTEWORTHY NEWS - NPPC Monthly Update from the PolioPlus Division
Read about positive developments in the fight against polio:
· Students Raise Money for Polio – The Rotary Club of La Jolla is helping students in Afghanistan utilize their growing computer savvy to help in the fight against polio. Students practice these skills in internet labs provided through the Global Connections and Exchange Program, a project supported by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Club. Rotarians from the Jalalabad and La Jolla Clubs also organized a workshop to educate students about the importance of polio eradication. As a result of their training, the students designed their own fundraisers, and spent two days visiting homes, schools and government facilities to raise awareness about polio in their communities. Each team put together a slide show to share their results. Collectively they raised about US$550 and gained new confidence in their leadership skills.
· No Cases Reported for 9 October - There were no new cases of polio reported in India for the week ending 9 October 2010. As of that date, the case count in India is 39 in 17 districts compared to 431 cases in 43 districts at the same time last year.
· Trustee Mahajan reaches out to Minority Community - Trustee Ashok Mahajan recently visited the textile city of Malegaon where four Polio 1 cases have been reported. He attended a meeting with the Malegaon Commissioner to help address misconceptions about the virus, and encouraged the Ulema leadership and prominent doctors in the community to educate people about the safety of the vaccine. Trustee Majahan received a warm welcome and strong praises for Rotary’s role protecting children in the community.
· Six Month Milestone– Niger has been polio-free for six months and has now been removed from the Active Outbreak List. The last case of polio reported in the country occurred on 1 April 2010.
· PolioPlus Summit Deemed a Success – Over 430 Rotarians and guests attended the summit, which took place at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, Nigeria on 20-22 September. Rotary International President Ray Klinginsmith gave an address encouraging Nigerian Rotarians and linking Nigeria’s progress locally to Rotary’s success on a global scale. The Minister of State for Health, Alhaji Suleiman Bello, represented Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and delivered remarks on the President’s behalf encouraging everyone to roll up their sleeves and finish the job.
· Nigeria’s Expert Review Committee (ERC) Heralds Nigeria’s Progress – At their meeting on 4-5 October, the expert advisory body for the polio eradication program in Nigeria expressed great optimism for Nigeria’s progress toward polio eradication, but highlighted the need to intensify efforts at this crucial time. The committee recommended several actions to build on recent successes, including rapid large-scale mop-up campaigns for every detected polio virus, strengthened independent monitoring of missing children, continued partnership with traditional leaders, and advocacy for enhanced political commitment from states and Local Government Areas (LGA) where polio still circulates. Rotary was represented at the meeting by National PolioPlus Committee Chair Busuyi Onabolu and Vice Chair Sagab Ahmed.
· Nigerian Faith Communities Join Hands Against Polio - The Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association is a national group that unites the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs over shared concerns. At a meeting held on 7 October, the group vowed to work together on polio eradication and signed a pledge agreeing to advocate with government leaders, educate their followers about the importance of polio eradication, and to mobilize their communities for immunization activities. This is a promising development, as the group’s network spreads throughout the whole country.
· Pakistan Province Marks 2011 as ‘Polio Eradication Year’ – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a province in Northwestern Pakistan where polio transmission has intensified in 2010. The provincial government is stepping up their efforts to address the issue, and has marked 2011 as the year to finally eradicate the disease. At a meeting chaired by the Governor and Chief Minister of the province, both agreed to participate in a task force being created to help integrate efforts across the most affected areas of the province. It was also suggested that special teams be deployed to transit points where flood-affected people returning home could be vaccinated.
· Rotarian Continues Polio Efforts Amidst Security Concerns -Despite a tenuous security situation in the FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces, Rotarian and Chief Coordinator of the KP Abdul Rauf Rohaila has risked his own safety to attend meetings organized to address concerns over the increased number of polio cases. Rotarian Rohaila attended the Crisis Task Force Committee on Polio Eradication in the FATA region and the Provincial Committee Meeting in Peshawar on 24 September, as well as the Government meeting in KP on 4 October. He has also pledged to continue working to engage the traditional religious leadership in the country. Thanks to Rotarian Rohaila for his tremendous personal commitment to the cause of polio eradication in Pakistan!
· Rotarians and Rotaractors Walk for Polio – On 9 October 2010 Rotaract and Rotary Clubs in Pakistan held a walk for polio with special guest UNICEF’s Dr. Sherbano attending from Afghanistan. Members of the Health Department and citizens from Dadu also participated. T-shirts, caps and badges provided with Rotary funds were distributed at the event to help raise awareness about the importance of polio vaccinations.
· Millennium Development Goals Summit – New York, 20 September 2010 – A side meeting titled “Unfinished business: reaching the MDGs with lessons learned from global polio eradication” at the MDG Summit, hosted by the International Federation of the Red Cross in collaboration with Rotary, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, WHO, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided an opportunity to deliberate on the successes and challenges of the polio eradication effort since the new Strategic Plan was launched in June 2010. In her keynote address, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, pointed to innovations in partnerships, strategies and technologies as the most important lessons from the polio eradication effort. She highlighted these areas as important not only to the goal of polio eradication, but also as the key for reducing human misery on a broader scale. Jim Lacy, Chair of the Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force for the United States represented Rotary at the event and shared lessons Rotary has learned in regards to advocacy for polio eradication.
· WHO and CDC Track and Assess Progress of Milestones for new Strategic Plan – The first quarterly data against the global milestones of the new Strategic Plan 2010-2012 has now been published. This update provides basic epidemiological information on milestones, and is part of a series of reports, including the CDC Assessment of Risks to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which will drive the work of the new Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) and other regional and technical advisory bodies. The IMB, as part of its mandate to evaluate progress against the global milestones, will evaluate and rank the milestones, consider mid-course corrections as necessary and make recommendations to the heads of agencies of the spearheading partners and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The WHO report is available at the following link:
Media Relations Corner - In the News
· RI President Klinginsmith Takes a Walk on World Polio Day - In San Francisco, approximately 2,000 people are expected to walk with President Ray Klinginsmith in recognition of World Polio Day. A lighting of the Ferry Terminal with END POLIO NOW is planned for the evening.
· Seattle Rotarian Honored for Work in Ethiopia –Rotarian Ezra Teshome, a Seattle resident and native of Ethiopia, is the recipient of the World Affairs Council of Seattle’s 2010 World Citizen Award. For over a decade Rotarian Teshome has been leading volunteer groups on trips to his home country for National Immunization Days to immunize children against polio. Rotarian Teshome was also recognized as a Global Health Hero at Time Magazine’s Global Health Summit in 2005 for his work helping with projects ranging from the provision of ambulances in his Ethiopian home town, helping build homes, and helping to establish a micro-credit program.
· “60 minutes” Interview with Melinda Gates Highlights Polio - The American news program “60 minutes” recently sat down with Melinda Gates, Co-founder of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to talk about her work as head of the Foundation. During the interview, polio was mentioned as a priority of the organization. To view the segment, go to the following link: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6923498n.
· Prize-winning Authors Put Polio in Literary Spotlight - In recent publications, two prize-winning authors explore the role polio has played in shaping American life, one from a fictional context and the other from a public health policy perspective:
Nemesis, by Philip Roth – Pulitzer Prize winning American author Philip Roth highlights polio in his most recent fictional work entitled Nemesis. The book is set in Newark, New Jersey in 1944 when the polio epidemic sweeps the city and panic ensues. The story follows the experiences of Bucky, the narrator of the story and a camp counselor who must deal with his guilt as his camp charges fall ill from the mysterious virus.
Polio: An American Story, by David Oshinsky – this Pulitzer Prize-winning non-fictional account by a leading American historian published in 2005 chronicles the history of polio in the United States and the range of approaches used to conquer the disease, highlighting the long ranging impact of the polio battle on American public health policy today.
· Call for PolioPlus Partners Projects– Funds are available for the 2010-11 fiscal year to support Rotarian-led social mobilization and surveillance activities in polio-endemic and high-risk countries. We encourage all National PolioPlus Committee Chairs who qualify for funds consider their needs for the year and submit their project requests at least one month in advance of scheduled activities. This will ensure that sufficient time is available for review and processing of grant requests. For more information, please contact Amy Young, Senior Coordinator, PolioPlus Partners Program at email@example.com.
· Double Points on World Polio Day – In conjunction with World Polio Day, The Rotary Foundation is providing 2 for 1 Paul Harris recognition for online polio donations of $100 or more made between 18-24 October. This opportunity is being provided as a way to honor Rotary’s progress in eradicating polio, and to encourage Rotarians to explore the online option for donations.
· Challenge Update - Rotary’s $200 Million Challenge Committee recently announced that Rotarians have raised a total of US$147.8 million toward the goal!