Posted on Dec 11, 2018

At our meeting this morning, Dr. Mark Joffe, Vice President & Medical Director for Northern Alberta with Albert Health Services, walked us through the history of polio, from when it was a mysterious and misunderstood disease that afflicted thousands and killed many, through to the discovery that polio is caused by a virus and can be vaccinated against, and finally to today when immunization programs have almost wiped this dreaded disease from the planet, the only countries with polio cases being Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan--and the numbers of those cases being very small. Joffe pointed out that the barriers to wiping polio from these three countries are both political and social. For example, the Pakistani Taliban have banned the polio vaccine.

Joffe gave us incredible insights into how polio affected life in Edmonton through the years, and how medical professionals here stepped up to cope with the epidemics of the 1950s. He told a moving story of iron lungs and lives destroyed. It's a story that Rotarians embrace and pay attention to because the fight to end polio is a fight that Rotary will not walk away from until polio is no more.

You can help Rotary and its partners in the fight to end polio. 

 

 

 

Cliff Neufeld, our club's president, thanks Dr. Joffe for an informative, insightful, and powerful presentation.