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|Posted on February 27, 2014 at 9:34 AM|
DSBE's Director of Public Relations arrived an hour late to yesterday's Rotary Club meeting at the YMCA, which had begun at 7:00 p.m..
Luckily, he arrived in time to listen to the speaker, a former resident of East Palo Alto who lived in a house on Donohoe Street in 1963, talk about Rotary International's efforts to eradicate polio in Nigeria. The speaker was also a former District Governor for our Rotary district.
Rotary International, along with the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, UNICEF, and increasingly the Gates Foundation, has been committed to the global eradication of polio.
The presentation on Nigeria was of interest to DSBE because of its plans to expand to Namibia, Malawi, and Viet Nam, where polio may not yet be eradicated. Poverty, health care infrastructure, and sanitation will likely pose similar challenges in parts of those countries, particularly the sub-Saharan ones.
The speaker touched upon the religious opposition to immunizations among some conservative Muslims. It was also shown in his slide as Pakistan and Somalia have the highest numbers in cases worldwide. This could be a factor for Rotary International's efforts in Malawi, where 40% of the population in Muslim (but without the level of bloodshed one finds in Nigeria,) which DSBE would want to support, if polio has not been eradicated by the time it gets to Blantyre.
Somali Boy Recieving Being Injected with the Polio Vaccine
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
(Our PR Director was formerly the Outreach Liason of a Sunni mosque, and is familiar with this reticence in discussions he had had in the brothers prayer hall after having had his annual flu shot. Some Muslims believe it is contrary to the will of Allah, and therefore haram. Our PR Director was a progressive Muslim whose parents taught him to get his flu shots each year. Few brothers agreed with him.)
Given how polio's been eradicated in the U.S., DSBE does not plan to take an active interest in this issue until it expands to Namibia and joins the Rotary Club of Windhoek. For now it is a very sympathetic and compassionate observor of the progress made to eliminate this horrible disease.
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