[This content was sent to all Past District Governors in Big West Zones 26/27.  Roger Hassler and President Dave urged that it be put into a Gear Up for all members.]

A program begun by Rotary is employing thousands of health workers to address the Covid-19 pandemic.  The program is the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) which includes Rotary’s PolioPlus program.   From the earliest days of polio eradication in the Philippines, the generosity and advocacy of Rotarians and our partners has nearly stopped polio, stopped Ebola from becoming an epidemic in Nigeria and now responds to Covid-19.  

Over the next four to six months the polio program is offering its tools, workforce and extensive surveillance network to support countries as they respond.  Globally, the polio surveillance network is being trained on Covid case detection, contact tracing, laboratory testing and data management.  GPEI is deploying its coordination mechanisms such as emergency operations centers and sharing physical assets like vehicles, computers and mobile phones to combat the pandemic. 

So what about polio itself?  The Polio Oversight Board made the hard decision to pause house to house vaccinations knowing that this may lead to an increase in polio cases. Polio surveillance will continue while also supporting Covid surveillance. The GPEI is working to ensure that once it is safe to do so, countries can be supported to rapidly resume polio immunization campaigns. 

 

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