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Lodi Interact Hosts Polio Webinar

The Lodi chapter of Interact–a division of Rotary International geared towards young people aged 12-18–will be presenting a webinar on this Thursday (Nov 12) to discuss their work in adding polio to the list of eradicated diseases.

Phoenix Peterson, Secretary for Lodi Interact Club explains:

The webinar [presented in conjunction with Rotary District 6250] is being presented to inform people on what polio is, the history of polio, and the future of polio eradication. The two main speakers presenting will be Rotary International’s world chair for PolioPlus and our district chair for Polio plus, Randy Sproule.

Polio still exists in two countries and it is Rotary Interact’s primary goal to abolish it. Polio Plus was started in 1985 and since then over 2.5 billion people have received the polio vaccine.

Polio Plus refers to a program developed by Rotary International to provide more than just vaccines.

“The pluses vary from one area to another. Depending on the environment and what is seen as a need, we try to bridge the gap,” says Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. “Part of the reason you get rejections when you immunize children is that we’ve been doing this for so long. In our part of the world, people look at things that are free and persistent with suspicion. When they know something else is coming, reluctant families will bring their children out to have them immunized.”

Thanks to strong immunization programs, polio has been eradicated in the United States.  Since 1979 no cases of polio have originated in the US–but in the 1940’s and 1950’s it disabled over 35,000 people every year. Children were among the most severely impacted, though it also affected adults–including Franklin D. Roosevelt who was diagnosed at the age of 39.

According to the CDC, only three polio-endemic countries (countries that have never interrupted the transmission of wild poliovirus) remain—Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

More information on the webinar, and how to register, can be found on the Rotary District 6250 website.

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