5 WAYS OUR WORK AGAINST POLIO
FIGHTS OTHER DISEASES
The cold chain
The polio vaccine must be kept cool, or it risks losing its
effectiveness. The cold chain system — made up of freezers,
refrigerators, and cold boxes — was developed to allow polio
workers to store the vaccine and transport it over long distances
in extremely hot weather. In Pakistan, a measles immunization
program now relies on the same system. With the help of the cold
chain, Sindh province recently reached its goal of immunizing
more than 7. 3 million children against measles.
A critical component in immunizing more children against polio,
especially in remote regions, is microplanning. A microplan allows
health workers to identify priority communities, address potential
barriers, and develop a plan for a successful immunization
campaign. The workers collect as many details as possible about
communities to help them reach and vaccinate all of the children,
and this strategy has helped keep India polio-free for five years.
Now the Mewat district of India is using microplanning to increase
its rates of vaccination against measles and rubella.
The polio surveillance system helps detect new cases of polio
and determines where and how these cases originated. In Borno
state in Nigeria, the surveillance system is now being used to
find people with symptoms of yellow fever. Surveillance was one
of many tactics used during a 2018 yellow fever outbreak that
prompted vaccinations of more than 8 million people.
Because polio is a transmittable disease, health workers use
contact tracing to learn who has had contact with people who
might be infected. Contact tracing was also critical to containing
an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria in 2014. When a traveler from
Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola, Nigerian officials were able to
quickly trace and isolate the traveler’s contacts, helping prevent
the disease from spreading further.
Emergency operations centers
An important part of the polio infrastructure that Rotary and its
partners have built is the emergency operations centers network.
These centers provide a centralized location where health workers
and government officials can work collaboratively and generate
a faster, more effective emergency response. The emergency
operations center in Lagos, Nigeria, which was originally set up
to address polio, was adapted to handle Ebola, and it ultimately
helped the country respond quickly to an Ebola outbreak. Only 19
Ebola cases were reported, and the country was declared Ebola-free
within three months.
CELEBRATE WORLD POLIO DAY WITH US
Be part of our global celebration of World Polio Day on 24 October.
Organize a viewing party for friends and club members to watch
the Online Global Update. We’ll be streaming regional events
live in multiple time zones. Or, hold a bike ride or walk to raise
funds. Register your event to tell us how you’re celebrating.
Find other ways to be a part of World Polio Day.
Since Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative took on the fight against polio, they
have developed systems to facilitate both immunizations and eradication of the disease. This infrastructure
helps get us closer to a polio-free world. But did you know that it’s used to fight and protect against other
diseases, too? Here are five examples of that infrastructure at work.