Even as ebola terrorizes West Africa and, by extension, the world, polio is on the ropes in Africa. Only Nigeria has never been able to eradicate the disease. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the last case of wild polio in Nigeria was in July, nearly three months ago. In other words, the last case of polio in Nigeria may have been the very last case of polio in Nigeria. There have been about a dozen cases of polio this year outside of Nigeria, but none since July.
The continent of Africa has not experienced a case of wild polio in nearly three months. The World Health Organization won’t declare Nigeria or the continent polio free until three years have passed, but it is worth celebrating the fact that we are now counting the days to that milestone!
Immunizations, however, must continue not only in Africa but around the globe. As we’ve seen in the U.S. with ebola, an infection is just a plane ride away. Hence the ongoing global effort to immunize every single child on the planet against polio until the virus is completely eradicated.
Rotary International has invited me to travel with a group of other Rotarians to Ethiopia; I leave on Halloween and will travel first to Addis Ababa; after a few days we’ll travel to remote villages. We’ll be participating in National Immunization Days there as the country seeks to immunize every child in the country against polio. This effort has proven effective in other countries, including India, where I visited for a similar trip in February (see my Forbes story here.)
On this trip to Ethiopia, we’ll be visiting some of the poorest communities I will have ever seen, even having visited poor villages in India, China, Mexico, Cambodia and Angola.
You Can Help!
The trip organizer, Ezra Teshome, has asked that all of us on the trip bring some things to share with the kids–besides polio vaccine. He’s specifically suggested we bring soccer balls.
Could you buy one soccer ball for me to take with me to Ethiopia? Here’s a link to a popular ball on Amazon that is “Amazon Prime” eligible so Prime customes pay no shipping and handling. I will purchase a pump for every ball I receive. Please send the balls so that they arrive to me by October 28, 2014 so I know how many pumps to buy.
My address is:
Your Mark on the World Center
48 West Broadway, #1903N
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Amazon will ask you for a phone number. Use 801-930-0588.
If you order a soccer ball, please shoot me an email so I’ll expect it, know who sent it and so I can get the corresponding pump!
Thank you for your consideration!