Leigh McIntosh

October 24 is World Polio Day. Rotary International has reason to celebrate. The last cases of polio caused by the wild poliovirus has been eradicated from the African continent.

Those last cases were reported in Borno, Nigeria in August 2016. Challenges from conflict in the region and getting to mobile populations physically hampered the ability to immunize children there. Dr. Tinji Funsho, a cardiologist based in Lagos, Nigeria played an essential role in ensuring that Africa was free of wild poliovirus by August 2020. Time magazine recently named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world, the first Rotarian to receive this honor. He stated, “I’m honored to be recognized by TIME for my part in ensuring that no child in Africa will ever again be paralyzed by wild polio, a disease that once disabled 75,000 African children every single year.”

Rotary has been working for 35 years as a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and has helped to reduce polio cases by 99.9 percent. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries left in the world with the wild poliovirus. Between ongoing conflict and political instability along with a distrust of others, it is difficult to access areas in hard to reach places and along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This makes children on both sides of the border more vulnerable to contracting the disease. If eradication efforts stopped today, as many as 200,000 children could be paralyzed within 10 years. Rotary has pledged to continue eradication efforts until all children are safe from this deadly and debilitating disease. Even during the Covid19 pandemic, it is necessary to continue the fight while being careful to protect health workers from Covid19 and making sure they do not contribute to its transmission.

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Rotary logo 220pxIn a recent Rotary Club of Lawrenceville virtual meeting with the District Governor, Tina Fischlin, she announced Rotary has kicked polio out of Africa. Share the good news with your friends.

Leigh is a proud Rotarian and CEO of Creative Enterprises, Inc., a not for profit, training and employment, community rehabilitation program for adults with disabilities.  A lifelong resident of Gwinnett County, Leigh divides her time between advocating for people with disabilities, enjoying her children, grandchildren, friends, and animals, helping her doTerra essential oil customers, traveling, and focusing on her spiritual journey to appreciate how we are all connected. Rotary meetings are virtual meetings currently but hopefully soon will resume every Monday at Garden Plaza in Lawrenceville at noon. Visit us on Facebook at Rotary Club of Lawrenceville or contact us at lawrencevillerotary.org or RotaryLawrenceville@gmail.com.

Leigh is a proud Rotarian and CEO of Creative Enterprises, Inc., a not for profit, training, and employment, community rehabilitation program for adults with disabilities. A lifelong resident of Gwinnett County, Leigh divides her time between advocating for people with disabilities, enjoying her children, grandchildren, and friends, helping her doTerra essential oil customers, traveling, and focusing on her spiritual journey to appreciate how we are all connected.