Dave Willman of Rotary District 5450 updated our club on the process to eradicate Polio. Below are great statistics to highlight the progress that has been made so far.

  • 6 Core partners
  • 20 million volunteers
  • 17 billion national investment
  • 200 countries involved
  • Over 2.5 billion kids vaccinated, soon to be 3 billion

In Afghanistan, the Taliban has agreed to allow front line vaccination to begin again with a plan to allow women (with guards), to vaccinate about 10 million children. Vaccination campaigns must continue even when wild Polio cases reach zero as children still need to be monitored and adults still need to be educated about the importance of the vaccination.

Marny Eulberg, MD, a wild Polio virus survivor shared her experience with us, as well. At age 4 she contracted Polio along with her younger sister. This was 5 years before the vaccine was even available! They had to wear braces on their legs, which were very unbecoming and cumbersome, leading to a lot of childhood bullying. Surgeries were done during her summer vacations. After 4 surgeries, she was finally able to rid the brace for the first time.

About half the survivors get Post-Polio Syndrome, which is not an infection nor is it contagious. Dr. Eulberg sees clients on an as-needed basis as a family doctor, helping them with issues that have arisen due to having Polio with a Post-Polio clinic.

Wondering the difference between wild Polio and the other version? Dr. Eulberg shared with us that the wild virus is out in the environment like a cold, while the circulated vaccine derived type of the virus comes from the live, weakened virus in the oral vaccine when there’s low vaccination in countries or poor sanitation and hygiene. 

As a district, we’re focused on watching the number of cases, and continuing to raise funds to help with Polio campaigns for education and awareness. This year the district raised $2,000 at the Rockies game! Coming in January of 2022, there will be a hybrid event of the Rotary President’s Dinner and a Polio Plus update . The World Health Organization has set a goal of 2026 as a hopeful end date for the eradication of polio throughout our world!!  Wow, the end is in sight! 

Resources for survivors-