ONLY ONE CASE OF POLIO IN PAKISTAN SO FAR THIS YEAR
The little boy in the photo is crying as his mother bends to help him. He is 3 years old and trying to take a few steps, but his right leg and arm are painful and will not move. He is the only case of polio so far this year in Pakistan, a historical low. (His mother has not learned to read and cannot decipher the Urdu words on the sign behind her urging that children get vaccinated against polio. The sign says “Don’t let your child’s dreams go to waste.”)
The world is now very close to wiping out polio. Pakistan’s neighbor, India, eradicated polio in 2014. Now only three nations have not totally eradicated polio: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria – although donors from around the world and local officials and volunteers are working hard to get all children in these countries vaccinated.
Some years ago in India I joined a polio eradication team from America on a whirlwind tour through the city of Meerut. We were able to immunize a few hundred children that day. “We had no illusions about our role,” I wrote in my journal. “We knew that we were only a very small part of the final push to eradicate polio from the world. We worked with thousands of volunteers who had been mustered to work in pulse polio booths around the country. Our role was to be a very visible sign that the rest of the world cares what happens to each of the children in these places we visited.
You can read the whole story in the chapter “National Immunization Day – Meerut” in my book READINGS FROM AN INDIA JOURNAL, http://amzn.to/1Ufzz2K
I am very proud of India’s 2014 victory over polio. There is going to be an incredible celebration in Rotary when the World Health Organization declares victory, as Rotary has been one of the strongest forces in the war on polio.
6 June 2018