By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Local Rotarians visit CDC and take POLIO LAB tour

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention celebrated World Polio Day, October 21st, by inviting Rotary International guests to a special tour and program at their facility in Atlanta. Rotary International has been a major contributor to the effort to eradicate polio from the world, and this event was designed to offer thanks for that support. 

After a tour of the Emergency Operation Center, the polio lab, and the David J. Sencer CDC Museum, guests gathered in the auditorium for a special program which brought them up to date on polio in the world.  Dr. Greg Armstrong, the EOC Director, reported that 80% of the world’s people now live in areas that have eliminated the threat of polio, but there are still some areas where the wild poliovirus still exists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.  He analyzed the situation in each case and offered positive assurances that those areas could be contained and the virus eventually eliminated.

Also speaking to the group was Charlie Stokes, CEO of the CDC Foundation, who described the aid that monies donated to the Foundation provided in speeding up response to emergency situations.  Millions of dollars have been raised to aid the CDC in emergency situations when federal funds are not immediately available.  Examples cited were $400,000 for equipment to test for Ebola, trucks for transportation, and even infant formula for children in quarantine.

Constant Dedo, one of the volunteers in the field helping deliver polio vaccine to children, told of his experience getting shot in July of 2012 and testified to his commitment to ending polio.  He vaccinates children, trains other vaccinators, and educates on record keeping techniques.  Following his talk the group was honored with a reception in the Atrium.  Special thanks went to Assistant Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator Garland C. “Gary” Moore for helping make the day possible.

Representatives from the Rotary Club of Lawrenceville attending were Past President Nancy McGill, Club Trainer and Polio Plus Chair David H. Freeman, Club Admin and Public Relations Chair Nina E. Freeman, Rotaract Sponsor Dr. Carolyn “Jill” Jones.