Afghanistan first in world to use
New direction for polio a programme
|KEY new tool in the
fight against wild poliovirus was used for the first time in December in polio
immunization campaigns in Afghanistan. Bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) is a
critical development in the polio eradication effort - a highly efficacious vaccine
able to provide protection against both surviving serotypes of polio (types 1 and 3)
concurrently, effectively delivering double the benefit in one dose.
From 15-17 December in Afghanistan’s southern regions, 2.8 million children under
five received this ground-breaking vaccine. In conflict-affected regions like
Afghanistan, where accessibility can be limited, the ability to optimize immunity to
both serotypes in one dose helps maximize the impact of each activity. All endemic
countries - Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan - have both type 1 and 3 wild
polioviruses circulating.Afghanistan, for instance, had
reported 15 type-1 and 16 type-3 cases in 2009 (as of 15 December), further
underlining the potential of a bivalent vaccine to expedite eradication.
Mr Ahmad Farid Raaid, spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Ministry of
Public Health, said the country was “honoured” to carry out the historic campaign
with this new vaccine. “We really are very happy for Afghanistan to have this
achievement of being the first country to use this new vaccine,” Mr Raaid said. “We
are hopeful that the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and operational advantages of
this new vaccine will help us quickly see the number of polio incidents come down.”
WHO Afghanistan’s Polio Team Leader, Dr Tahir Mir, stressed that most of Afghanistan
was polio-free, with 28 of the 31 children paralysed in 2009 from just 13 insecure
districts (of 329 districts country-wide). He said with the virus so geographically
isolated, the ability to tackle both types “with one go and with much better efficacy
than trivalent OPV is a very good opportunity for us”.
||The vaccination campaign in
Afghanistan is financed by the Government of Canada, the second-highest per-capita G8
donor to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with US$260 million in
contributions - $7.76 per Canadian.
- Rod Curtis/WHO
insert caption: A child in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, becomes one of the first in
the world to receive ground-breaking bivalent oral polio vaccine.
N 18-19 November, major stakeholders in polio
eradication, including spearheading partners, infected countries and donors, met with
the Advisory Committee for Polio Eradication (ACPE) and developed a list of
recommendations for the polio programme, including the need for real-time,
independent monitoring of campaigns and enhanced routine immunization to reduce
outbreaks. In addition, the re-established transmission areas of Angola and Chad are
to be treated similarly to endemic countries in terms of technical support, given
poliovirus has circulated in these countries for more than 12 months.
The ACPE heard a report from the Independent Evaluation of Major Barriers to
Interrupting Wild Poliovirus Transmission, which provided specific
recommendations for tackling polio in each endemic country and in the outbreak
countries (see www.polioeradication.org for more).
A Programme of Work 2010-2012 to Interrupt Wild Poliovirus Transmission Globally
will turn the recommendations of the Evaluation - and the programmatic lessons and
scientific evidence gathered in 2009 - into concrete operational and managerial
f actions in a final push to end polio. This includes a major scale-up in the use of
bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV), the sustained application of new tactics to
improve Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) coverage, increased investment in
areas with re-established transmission, new tactics to reduce international spread,
and greater emphasis on immunization systems strengthening.
- Sona Bari/WHO
Rotary surpasses $100 million in Funding Challenge
otary’s herculean effort to eradicate polio continued in earnest in 2009, with the
announcement in December that Rotary has surpassed the halfway mark in its effort to
raise US$200 million to match $355 million in challenge grants from the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Concert to End Polio, starring Itzhak Perlman, raised more than $100,000 towards
the fund-raising effort alone, while helping to raise awareness of the disease, which
many people still don’t realize remains a threat to children in some parts of the
Perlman’s concert raises awareness, funds for polio eradication
IOLIN virtuoso Itzhak Perlman joined the New York Philharmonic Orchestra on 2 December
to dazzle a sold-out New York audience in the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in a
benefit concert to raise money and awareness for Rotary’s effortsto eradicate polio.
Perlman, who has lived with polio since he was crippled by the virus in his native
Israel, aged four,
walked onto the stage on his crutches, telling the crowd it was “ridiculous” that polio still paralysed
children in 2009. “There is no reason that anybody in this world should have polio,” he said.
“It’s just ridiculous.”
Perlman, who has won 15 Grammy Awards, joined conductor Daniel Boico and the orchestra as soloist in
Bruch’s melodious Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, then played the moving Theme From Schindler’s List
by John Williams, before finishing with Fritz Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois. His stunning
performances gained six standing ovations.
Following the concert, Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Glenn E. Estess snr presented Mr Perlman with
the Paul Harris Fellow Award for his support of the End Polio campaign. “It’s very nice of you to give
me this memento,” the polio survivor said, “but I think that the awards and the recognition should go
to Rotary because to say what you’re doing is great work is truly an understatement.”
- Antoinette Tuscano/Rotary
Living Proof Project: U.S. Investments in
Global Health are Working
NVESTMENTS in global health, such as the
drive to eradicate polio, are having an enormous impact on people in the
developing world. That is the message the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation want to
share through the ‘Living Proof Project’ - a multimedia campaign demonstratinghow
investments in global health are achieving real, demonstrable results.
On 27 October, Bill and Melinda delivered a catalyzing multimedia presentation
that challenged the current problem-based global health narrative through
illustration of success stories and indicators of progress. 800 of the most
influential people in Washington DC, including 40 members of the media, attended
the event, and more than 13,000 watched it via a live webcast on Living Proof’s
multimedia web site containing stories, videos, and photo galleries.
Research on the tone of media coverage on investments in global health not only
shows it is generally negative, but also that people want to hear about progress,
optimism and opportunity. By reporting success stories back to the people who fund
them, the hope is to reframe the global health conversation from one of bad news
and sad stories to hope and progress. Millions of lives have been transformed with
effective, affordable solutions. We have the knowledge, innovative technologies,
and proven tools to do much more.
- Melissa Covelli/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Pakistan’s most famous family makes a
stand for polio
|HEN former Pakistan
Prime Minister, the late Benazir Bhutto, launched the polio eradication effort
in Pakistan in 1994 by immunizing her infant daughter Aseefa, it started a
family mission against polio that continues to this day.
On 13 October, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari was declared Pakistan’s National
Ambassador for Polio Eradication. To mark the appointment, a 5 Rupees stamp
featuring the photographof Mrs Bhutto immunizing her youngest daughter with
the slogan “Mother’s vision, daughter’s mission” was commissioned and
distributed through 13,000 post offices across Pakistan.
Aseefa’s father, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, unveiled the
appointment at the launch of the country’s National Immunization Days, at
which he again vaccinated children on stage, before calling on the country’s
provincial and district-level leadership to play a more effective role in
ensuring no child under five in Pakistan was missed in campaigns.
“Polio continues to threaten our children (but) our aim is to make Pakistan
completely polio-free,” President Zardari said. “We aim that no child lives
in the fear of being crippled for life.”
The stamp commissioned by the Pakistan Government to celebrate the
country’s new Polio Ambassador, Aseefa, together with her late mother, Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto. Aseefa was the first child to be immunized in Pakistan’s polio eradication
campaign - by her mother.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari immunizes a child against
polio to launch October’s countrywide immunization days in front of a backdrop of his
daughter, Aseefa, Pakistan’s newly unveiled Polio Ambassador. PHOTO: APP
Aseefa expressed her determination to pursue the mission of her mother. “I
feel a special responsibility towards eradicating polio from the country,”
she said. “Together we will end polio in her honour and in her memory.”
Rotary International Polio Committee Chairman Dr Robert S. Scott, who last
month awarded President Zardari the prestigious Polio Eradication Champion
Award for his leadership and outstanding support be 200,000 – but it will be hundreds of
thousands of children who will be paralyzed every single year if we do not finish the job,”
Panel moderator Dr. William Foege of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed: “The
future will not look back and thank us for starting the polio eradication program,” he said.
“It will thank us for ending it.”
- Rod Curtis/WHO
US Government/OIC come together for
HE United States Government and the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC) have resolved to work together to eradicate polio from
the last remaining endemic countries. The joint initiative – a response
to U.S. President Barack Obama’s call for such an effort in Cairo last
June – was launched in December at UNICEF Headquarters in New York.
US Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United
Nations Frederick D. Barton said the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
(GPEI), by any measure, had made “phenomenal progress”. In turn, the
Ambassador to the Permanent Observer Mission of the OIC to the United
Nations in New York, Abdul Wahab, pledged that efforts to address
opposition to vaccination campaigns were taking place at
“the highest levels” of the OIC. A recent edict issued by the
International Islamic Fiqh Academy, for instance, urged parents and
health officials to vaccinate their children with backing from the
teachings of the Quran.
U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Frederick D. Barton is fl anked by the Ambassador to the Permanent Observer
Mission of the OIC, Abdul Wahab and UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M.
Veneman applauded the cooperation agreement and welcomed a panel of experts,
including WHO GPEI Director Dr Bruce Aylwardand Rotary’s James Lacy, who noted
that the GPEI had been singled out by the U.S. Congress as a “perfect example
of how a private-public partnership works.”
||Dr Aylward emphasized the risk of failure: “If we do not finish the job of
eradication, it may be 100,000, it maybe 200,000 – but it will be
thousands of children who will be paralyzed every single year if we do not
finish the job,” he said.
Panel moderator Dr. William Foege of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
agreed: “The future will not look back and thank us for starting the polio
eradication program,” he said. “It will thank us for ending it.”
- Elizabeth Kiem/UNICEF
T seems too good to be true. Nigeria, the only African country
which has never interrupted poliovirus transmission and the source
of two significant and costly outbreaks in the past five years, is
witnessing a dramatic decline in polio cases.
Long heralded as the key to eradication in Africa, Nigeria’s type-1
case numbers have collapsed. In the “very high-risk” northern
states, those numbers are striking: Kano state, once considered the
epicenter of polio in Nigeria, has one type-1 case for the year, as
does Jigawa and Katsina. Kaduna state has none.
Last year, Nigeria recorded 798 cases - the most on earth - 721 of which
were type 1. This year, until 22 December, it had recorded 388 cases, just
75 of which were type 1. Since 1 July, Nigeria has recorded just three
type-1 and 66 type-3 cases. Until a type-1 case was recorded on 15
December, the country had gone 13 weeks without a single type-1 case. And
with the imminent use of the new bivalent oral polio vaccine maintaining
pressure on type-1 while rapidly raising immunity to type 3, Nigeria can
dare to dream that its number of cases will continue to fall in 2010.
Clearly, more children are being immunized. From 2008 to 2009, in
Kano, for instance, the number of zero-dose cases has fallen from 30%
to 17%. Yet significant gaps remain. After the most recent
immunization activity, a Lot Quality Assurance monitoring survey in
high-risk states revealed large numbers of unvaccinated children. Put
simply, if Nigeria can close these operational gaps, it can dare to
dream of polio eradication. If it can’t, eradication will remain just
that: a dream.
The Emir of Kano, His Highness Ado Bayero, immunizes his grandson
Traditional leaders prove the catalyst for change
HE immunization teams still can’t believe it: as they march down
the streets of Kano, a trumpeter walks behind, blaring out his
traditional wailing tune. Beside him, a social mobilizer calls for
parents to bring their children through a megaphone. Children come
running to be vaccinated, fathers and grandfathers bring children
out of houses to receive the life-saving polio drops and an
interested crowd gathers around.
Just 12 months ago in Kano, the same immunization teams were
Photo: Rod Curtis/WHO
from door to door, trying to remain unnoticed. Independent Monitor Saadata
Musa is abrupt when asked what would have happened last year if they’d
walked the streets with a trumpeter: “We would have been stoned. In 2008, we
could not move freely,” Saadata said. “Now, as you can see there, the father
brought his children outside to us. Can you see that? The father himself
brought them out.”
One factor alone has resulted in this quantum shift in Nigeria’s attitudes
to polio immunization: the revered traditional leadership has embraced the
program with gusto, rapidly building community demand: Nigerian parents are
happily following their directive to immunize “every child, every time”.
In November, the Emir of Kano, His Highness Ado Bayero, launched the
immunization campaign by vaccinating his grandson before the state’s media.
He then called on Kano’s District, Village and Ward Heads to be personally
accountable for total immunization coverage in their areas of juridiction.
A week later, the Sultan of Sokoto launched his state’s campaign.
The turning point in this engagement came in January 2009, when Mr Bill
Gates travelled to Nigeria to witness the signing of the Abuja Commitments
to Polio Eradication, when traditional leaders throughout the country
pledged to support the immunization campaigns. Critically, they have backed
up those words with firm action.
Nigeria’s children are reaping the rewards of this renewed commitment to
polio eradication, through plummeting case numbers.
WHO Technical Officer Florence Shirehwa is pleased the teams are seeing
reward for effort: “Now, because they can see the benefits, you can see the
zeal they have to be attached to this good side of the story. But we still
have a lot of problems … we need to push and push and push and push.”
India tackles the final hurdle
N 2006, every time India conducted an immunization activity against type 1
poliovirus, it was fighting nine different genetic “transmission chains”. By
2007, two chains from the genetic tree had been cut down forever, leaving seven.
By 2008, a further four chains had been eradicated, leaving three. In 2009, two
further chains were eliminated, cutting the number remaining to just one.
Photo: Jean-Marc Giboux/Rotary
In 2010, India has entered its traditional low season for transmission - the months
of January-May, when the opportunity of eliminating wild poliovirus is strongest -
facing one remaining chain of type 1 poliovirus. This virus, originally from
Moradabad, western Uttar Pradesh (UP), is the last survivor of thousands of years of
poliovirus lineages in India. Eradicate this last remaining type-1 chain, and you’ve
just eradicated type 1 polio from India.
Throughout the polio eradication effort, genetic sequencing of polioviruses has
taken place to allow the relationships between viruses to be determined. In India, the Global Specialized Poliovirus Laboratory at the Enterovirus Research Center in Mumbai, led by Dr. Jagadish Deshpande, sequences and analyzes hundreds of
polioviruses per year to determine their relationships. Closely related viruses
are grouped into “clusters” - groups of viruses where a particular part of the
polio virusgenome (VP1) is > 95% the same.
These clusters can then be divided into transmission chains.
Despite only one chain remaining, type-1 eradication in India is far from a
foregone conclusion: this chain has shown remarkable tenacity. Predominant in
the 2006 type-1 outbreak, it spread from UP to the Kosi River area of Bihar,
where it quickly became entrenched. The Kosi River area is subject to
large-scale flooding for up to five months each year, has no infrastructure,
roads or health services to speak of, and the more than 1 million people that
eke out a living on the flood
plains provide a perfect refuge for India’s last transmission chain.
India’s opportunity for polio eradication in 2010 is clear: eliminate the last
chain from its heartland with repeated immunization campaigns, and eliminate
type 1 wild poliovirus from India.
- Rod Curtis/WHO
Making headway on routine immunization in
|IVEN the critical
impact high routine immunization levels have on reducing ongoing poliovirus
transmission, the fact that the polio-endemic Indian state of Bihar has increased
its routine immunization levels from a low level of 18% in 2005 to an encouraging
55% in 2009 could have a profound impact on the eradication effort in India.
Since August 2005, Bihar has made a concerted effort to strengthen routine
immunization levels by implementing simple yet effective measures.
Health authorities have focused on
demographically registering children - often for the first time - allowing
them to evaluate routine immunization coverage.
Community groups such as women’s groups are regularly conducting outreach
meetings, and supervision for strengthening routine levels in key districts has
been scaled up. Essential budgetary support is provided from the central level,
focused on maintaining updated routine microplans and implementing monitoring
strategies. And polio
activities (SIAs) are scheduled from Sundays to Thursdays to ensure that Friday
routine immunization sessions can be conducted.
A key focus of the new GPEI Programme of Work 2010-2012 will be the
strengthening of immunization systems, particularly in areas at high risk of polio re-infection.
- Oliver Rosenbauer/WHO
The human face of a slowing outbreak
eet four-year-old Aicha
Traore (pictured, right), the first case of wild poliovirus in Cote d’Ivoire in
four years. Just before the New Year rang in 2009, Aicha’s life changed forever
when, during a long night of fever and pain, she contracted polio.
“We gave her traditional medicine,” her father Issaka said, “but the temperature
would not go down and when I came back from the fields that day, she could not
Like so many children in the 11 West African countries infected with polio since
an outbreak from Nigeria swept west from mid-2008, Aicha had received zero doses
of oral polio vaccine in routine immunization campaigns.
Repeated synchronized immunization campaigns targeting 74 million children across
the countries hashelped to quell the outbreak, but the damage done - 146 children
paralysed for life - is a terse
||Photo: Riccardo Gangale/UNICEF
reminder of the poliovirus’ ability to sweep through under-immunized populations.
Following the campaigns, half the 11 infected countries have not recorded cases
since September, pointing to the continued slowing of the outbreak.
Staff Benda Bilili: look beyond
S five polio-affected street musicians from the Democratic Republic of
Congo slowly rolled their wheelchairs and shuffled up on crutches to the front of the stage, the audience in the packed hall in France could be
forgiven for expecting a solemn affair.
But as the first notes of an irresistible rhythm rang out - played on
hand-made guitars and self-designed instruments fashioned out of
materials found on the streets of Kinshasa - the crowd bounced to
their feet. The sheer energy of the music and the confidence of the
musicians creating it meant this was one band that lived up to its
name: ‘Staff Benda Bilili’, meaning ‘Look Beyond Appearances’, whose
debut album Tres, Tres Fort, or Very, Very Strong, has captivated
music lovers across Europe.
But the acclaimed debut single from the album, Polio, points to the
fact that life has not always been about packed music halls for this
band. The members of Staff Benda Bilili have been afflicted by polio
since childhood and grew up on the streets of Kinshasa, selling
cigarettes or working odd jobs, until a combined love of music and
their kinship as polio survivors brought them together.
Soon they were busking on the
streets for cash, until spotted by
Belgian record producer Vincent Kenis, who brought them together to
rehearse their music - and record their album - sitting in their
wheelchairs on a small patch of grass in the middle of the ramshackle
Kinshasa zoo, using electricity from a deserted refreshment bar.
The band writes songs that
highlight turning weaknesses into strengths. Having fully experienced
the pain of polio paralysis and disability, the band, on the single
Polio, fervently appeal to parents: “Parents, please go to the
vaccination centre/ Get your babies vaccinated against polio/ Please
save them from that curse.”
Backstage in France, the band expressed support for the efforts of
the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Africa and the work of
organizations such as “StandProud” in Kinshasa.
Michel Winter, their
manager and acting
translator, says the band was just “happy to be here”. “The music is
good and so is their attitude on stage and the energy they give,” Mr
Winter said, confiding that when he first heard of the band he was
told they were fantastic musicians, but disabled, and was asked: “Is
that a problem?” He replied: “If the music is good, there won’t be a
In the final song, there is noise and movement all over the stage,
with four pirouetting wheelchairs and crutches used by powerful arms
to swing on. Then the singer Djunana hops out of his wheelchair and
forward-rolls across the stage, the legs that polio has withered to
stumps tucked beneath him. He is grinning wildly, and so are all of
- Anand Balachandran/WHO and Kevin
E.G. Perry/Drowned in Sound
Pakistani Imam turns from refuser to
N remote Urmar Mera, a far-flung region of Peshawar, north-west Pakistan, the
polio eradication effort had a problem. The local population, who spent their
days working in vast brick kilns and their evenings strung out over large
distances in their mud houses, were slowly being turned against accepting polio
immunizations by their local Imam, Maulana Humayun.
Month by month, polio immunization teams arrived at the doors of houses in the
village of Garhi Mohibullah to find themselves turned away. In a polio-endemic
region like Peshawar, the risk of allowing this situation to continue was great.
As a result, the District Health Communication Support Officer Peshawar, Mr.
Qudratullah Shinwari, drove out to meet the Imam, to answer his questions, allay
his fears over side-effects over the vaccine, and appeal to his better judgment
to protect the interests of Urmar Mera’s children.
||In that afternoon, Imam Humayun
turned full circle from a man decrying the benefits of polio vaccination to a
man prepared to launch the next month’s immunization campaign by personally
vaccinating children at the Urmar Mera mosque.
The next month, a heart-warming inauguration ceremony was held in the village,
at which Mr. Shinwari thanked the Imam of the Masjid for his stance,
explaining that the refusals and subsequent pool of children missed by polio
immunization campaigns were the biggest reason behind the persistent polio
transmission in the region.
Imam Humayun used the Quran to express the importance of protecting Pakistan’s children from illness, stating he was fully satisfied with the safety of the
vaccine, announcing that he had abandoned his anti-polio stance, and appealing
to the village to cooperate with immunization teams in every campaign.
Imam Humayun then stood before the most
influential men in his village and gave polio drops to four children (pictured
above). It was an act that resonated throughout the region.
- Qudratullah Shinwari/DHCSO Peshawar,
with Rod Curtis/WHO
Rotarians turn out for World Polio Day
|Some Rotary events in action: Polio features at a
Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball game, a sponsored polio climb conquers the
Alps and the U.S. postage stamp.
rom walking to the White House to climbing the Himalayas, the
Rotary family turned out on 24 October - World Polio Day - to raise
public awareness and support for ending the disease.
In a long series of extraordinary fundraising campaigns, notable
•Rotarians in Austria netted more than US $ 297,000 by selling
packets of sunflower seeds nationwide.
•A World Polio Day Dinner sponsored by the Rotary clubs of
Abilene, Abilene Wednesday, and Abilene Southwest, Texas, USA,
featuring RI President-elect Ray Klinginsmith as a guest speaker,
raised more than US $ 50,000.
•The Rotary Club of Hamburg-Hafencity raised US$29,700 through
sales of CDs, while the Rotary Club of Berlin International
garnered US $ 11,111 through a used cell phone drive.
•District 7610 (Virginia, USA) coordinated a Final Inch for Polio
Eradication Walk of 24.6 miles from Herndon to the White House,
raising almost US $ 10,000 for Rotary’s challenge.
•A bikeathon sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bali Seminyak, Bali,
Indonesia, garnered US $ 1,500.
•In Tanzania, a children’s band led more than 100 Rotarians and
friends on a walk through the streets of Arusha to promote polio
•In an ongoing effort, the Rotary Club of Victoria, Texas, USA, is
making “Join the Challenge, Stamp Out Polio” stamps available to
clubs and districts in support of Rotary’s challenge. Order sheets of
10 for US $ 10 each at www.victoriarotary.org/stamps.
Rotary International has contributed more than US $ 800 million to
polio eradication, the largest contribution ever made by an
international service organization to a public health initiative. It
has also mobilized more than 20 million volunteers in 200 countries
for mass immunization campaigns.
- Arnold Grahl/Rotary
DFID delivers groundbreaking support
he pioneering new bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) released in
December has been developed over the past 12 months with the support of
funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
The roll-out of the bOPV is part of DFID’s new £100 million drive to tackle
polio over the next five years. In December, DFID released £23 million of that
funding package to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to deliver:
•National immunisation days to reach every child under five in countries with
ongoing polio or at high risk of spread from polio-infected countries;
•Supplemental ‘mop-up’ vaccination campaigns focused on children in
high-risk areas with persistent poliovirus;
•Research into new vaccines and ways to ensure they are available to
vulnerable children; and
•Monitoring activities to detect cases of polio so that progress can be
measured and outbreaks contained.
Since DFID began its new funding to the eradication initiative in January
2009, UK aid has helped to vaccinate 350 million children, some of them more
||than once, improved the
training of staff to carry out the vaccinations, and helped develop approaches
to overcome the challenges faced in reaching children in the last
polio-infected areas of the world.
This instalment of funding will help to train more staff and vaccinate a
further 120 million children under the age of five years.
The UK is the second-largest government donor to the Global Polio Eradication
Sunflower seeds: a golden
fundraising eff ort by Swiss Rotary
THROUGHOUT 2008-09 across Switzerland and Liechtenstein, 13,000 Rotarians from more
than 200 Rotary Clubs set up bright yellow booths painted with a bright sunflower
design in city squares. Volunteers dressed in the famous yellow vests of polio
immunization campaigns sold packets of 10 sunflower seeds for 75 rappen (about 64
cents) - the average cost of immunizing a single child with the oral polio vaccine.
Thanks to these extraordinary efforts, Switzerland’s PolioPlus National Advocacy
Advisor Mr Urs Herzog, along with the Patron of the campaign, Swiss Foreign Minister
Micheline Calmy-Rey, and senior Rotary Leaders from the three Districts, came
together on 10 November at the Swiss Federal Palace in Berne to present a cheque for
1 Million Swiss Francs to Mr Jürg Kobler of Rotary International in support of the
End Polio Now campaign. The Swiss Ambassador in Geneva, HE Ambassador Dante
Martinelli, hosted a reception at the official residence to thank Swiss Rotarians
for their generosity.
We Are This Close to Ending Polio. So says a
growing family of notable supporters to the polio eradication effort,
such as Jane Goodall, Reverend
Desmond Tutu, and golfing legend Jack Nicklaus - himself a polio
survivor - in this engaging Rotary advertising campaign.
resources on www.polioeradication.org
•GPEI Programme of Work 2010-2012 Overview
•Polio Pipeline Issue 5, Winter 2010
•Report of the Independent Evaluation into Interruption of Wild
•WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record summarizes Nigeria’s progress
from January 2008- July 2009
•Update on Vaccine-Derived Polioviruses.
•3-5 March: Angola Technical Advisory Group
•6 March: multi-country SIAs in west Africa, Cameroon, Central
African Republic and Chad
•8-9 March: Horn of Africa Technical Advisory Group
•22-23 March: Nigeria Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication
•23 April: multi-country SIAs in west Africa
here is no reason that anybody in this world should have polio. It’s just
- Violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who has been paralysed with polio since the
age of four.