When we think of polio, most of us envision black-and-white photographs of a bygone era with the subjects wearing leg braces, in wheelchairs, or even lying helplessly in iron lungs. While the worst days of polio are indeed in the past, it hasn't been eradicated entirely … yet. October 24 is World Polio Day, drawing attention to the fact that while vaccinations have helped reduce 99.9 percent of global polio cases, the virus is still endemic to three countries: Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. Until complete eradication is achieved, efforts must remain strong.
Rotary International is leading the fight along with partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, working hard to immunize children around the world against this paralytic virus.
A Plus is at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta for all of the World Polio Day events, including a Twitter chat with several leaders in global health, and a Facebook Live interview with Jeffrey Kluger, senior editor at Time magazine and the author of Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio.
The Kluger interview was followed by a press conference to update the world on the current state of the quest to eradicate polio, even in the face of the recent cases in Nigeria after two years of being polio-free. A Plus will also sit down with Dennis Ogbe, a Paralympian from Nigeria who overcame his paralysis to become a phenom at shot put, discus, and javelin.
The main program of the day will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, with a series of speakers and videos educating the public that while polio is still affecting children, the end is in reach.