Polio Plus Update

PolioPlus Update

So where are we in May of 2019 in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), of which Polio Plus is the contribution by Rotarians from all over the world.  As in the past, there is good news and bad news, summarized as follows based on data from Team Polio Zone 28 (Tim Murphy).

We continue to make progress in polio eradication

  • The  entire African continent is poised to be certified polio-free in early 2020 with the certification of Nigeria.
  • There are three types of polio-types 1, 2 and 3.  Type 2 was certified eradicated in 2015.  Type 3 will likely be certified eradicated in early 2020.
  • To date, 18 million people who would have been paralyzed or died are walking and alive because of polio eradication efforts.  That is a number to brag about.!

We have continual challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan

  • There is a pause on polio campaigns in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  In Pakistan, rumors about the vaccine’s safety were spread online and by word of mouth, ultimately leading to protests and violence.
  • In Afghanistan, the Taliban has concerns about some of the organizations that are implementing the program and there are rumors about the safety of the vaccine.
  • We have experience dealing with situations like this before and solved the problem.
    • In Nigeria: Misinformation and rumors surrounding the polio vaccine led to a nationwide boycott of vaccinations which lasted nearly 15 months 
      • Through our efforts to address the issues behind vaccine hesitancy, build community trust and support for the vaccine, Nigeria has now gone almost 3 years without a case of wild polio.
    • In India: Mistrust of the vaccine and polio eradication efforts in Bihar and Utter Pradesh threatened our progress against polio.
      • The GPEI implemented a transformational community-based vaccination strategy to build community trust and completely turned the program around. India has now been polio-free for 5 years.

What is being done to counter misinformation and false rumors?

  • Social media experts working for the GPEI counter negative social media messages online with a positive educational message about polio vaccination.
  • The Government of Pakistan is calling on Facebook to take down offending posts and remove harmful and false polio-related content. 

What else is being done to get the program back on track?

  • We’re working to deliver more than polio vaccines. We’re providing complementary services to address community needs (water, sanitation, nutrition, other vaccines) beyond polio eradication in the highest risk communities that are the most deprived.
  • We’re establishing new partnerships with other public health actors like Gavi to improve immunization coverage.
  • complementary services so multiple needs are met beyond polio immunizations.

We are optimistic and Polio Plus continues to need your ongoing financial support.  WE WILL GET THIS DONE!!

District 6420 has exceeded our goal amount for this calendar year contributing $52,179.20 as of April 30, 2019.  Let’s all keep up the momentum for the next calendar year !


Paul Stromborg, MD

District 6420 Polio Plus Chair (

Guatemala Literacy Project Needs Your Help

My name is Jim Hunt, and I am a past District Governor and member of the Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600). Joe Berninger, founder of the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP), and I are organizing Rotary service trips to Guatemala and we are looking for interested Rotarians.                                                 

The GLP is the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district effort in the Rotary world not directed by RI itself—the “gold standard” of Rotary projects, according to former RI President Ian Riseley. Over 600 Rotary clubs from 8 countries have participated in the GLP since its inception in 1996. GLP Textbook, Computer, Teacher Training, and Youth Development programs currently serve more than 50,000 impoverished children.

We need Rotarians to join the following service trips to Guatemala:

  • July 21-27, 2019 
  • July 30-Aug 4, 2019
  • Nov 14-17, 2019
  • Feb 1-9, 2020
  • Feb 18-23, 2020
  • July 12-18, 2020
  • July 21-26, 2020

These trips offer a variety of experiences: Some are longer or shorter; some more “hands on”—and all of them give you the opportunity to be a meaningful part of Rotary’s work fighting poverty in Guatemala. Please visit the project’s website for more details.

Could you share this opportunity with members of your club?

If you have any questions, you can email me at

Yours in Rotary Service,

Jim Hunt, PDG 
Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600)

Joe Berninger
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) 
Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600)

Be the Inspiration
Former Rockford East/CherryValley member, 
Dr. Mahmood Butt of Islamabad, Pakistan, has inspired both his daughters to join a Rotary Club. His younger daughter, Saman Butt-Hanif is a pharmacist at SwedishAmerican Hospital & is joining the Rockford Rotary Club.
Bulletin EdiTor
Kathy . Schmidt
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