Polio Symposium: Past, Present and Future

In September of 2018, internationally known polio experts, vaccination field teams from Afghanistan, and Rotarians across District 6900 came together on Saturday, September 29th at the Polio Symposium: Past, Present, and Future held at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Atlanta.Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Emory Clifton (RCEC), the keynote speaker was Dr. Hamid Jafari, Deputy Director of the Center for Global Heath at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who previously the Director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Along the presentations that provided an update on current and future polio eradication efforts by Dr, Jafari and other Rotary and CDC polio experts, Rotarians also learned about the history of the treatment of this disease. The Warm Springs Institute brought a display of the various braces and casts used to treat polio victims at Warm Springs. Robert Prather of Meriweather County provided several Rotarians with a first-hand view of what life in an iron lung was like for a polio victim. Participants were given the opportunity to go inside an iron lung and for as brief time experience what life was like in this life-saving medical device.

Carol Pandak, the Director of Rotary’s Polio Plus program briefed program participants on the achievements of the Rotary Polio Plus Program highlighting the tremendous impact that Rotarians worldwide have made in spearheading the elimination of polio in many countries.

Dr. Steve Wassilak, the Polio Science Team Lead at the CDC’s, Global Immunization Division briefed Rotarians on the recent changes in vaccines used to eliminate wild polio given the elimination and near elimination of many polio viruses.

Michael Grudzinski of UNICEF Headquarters in New York discussed global overview and challenges of UNICEF and Rotary country teams in areas that still have active polio cases. He discussed how the teams have mounted a successful social mobilization effort in polio vaccine resistant areas and how these techniques are being used.

Polio vaccination team that was web streamed live from Kabul, Afghanistan. Team members Melissa Corkum, Dr. Hemanth Shukla , and Dr. Abdul Waheed Zaheertalked about the daily dangers that polio vaccinators faced as they worked to unvaccinated children in the insecure and often remote areas of Afghanistan where their lives are often in danger.The team discussed the progress that had been made in reaching previously unreached children.

Elizabeth Patrick of the CDC Foundation talked about the Polio Heroes Fund that provides surviving family members of polio team members killed while performing their vaccination duties with monetary compensation.

This Polio Symposium was made possible by the following people and organization that made this program successful:

Rotary Club of Emory Clifton Officers and Members, Pia Valeriano (President), Yamin Farhat (Foundation Chair/Founder), Jeevan Makam (Vice President), Alan Janssen (PRO), Peter Yarkasah , (Secretary), John Yembu (Secretary) , Deblina Datta (Past President), Angelii Abrol (Membership Chair)

Presenters: Melissa Corkum, Dr. Hemanth Shukla, Dr. Abdul W. Zaheer from Afghanistan,, Carol Pandak – RI’s Polio Director, Hamid Jafari,, Steven Wassilak, Anna Callaghan, Michael Grudzinski, Elizabeth Patrick,

Donors and Sponsors: Narayan Sangupta, Roger Wise, Dr. Chandler Sharma Esq., Robert “Bob” Hagan , Inamullah, Amangpintor, Galen Oelkers, Alan Janssen, Lorri Christopher, Robert Prater, Jennifer Holt, Lou Alvarado, Elwyn Gaissert and Chris Brand -Sgt at Arms, Rajajapala Sridaran from Morehouse School of Medicine, Yaarab Shriners of North Georgia, Rotary International, Rotary District 6900, CDC, UNICEF, FODAC, Rotary Club of Dunwoody, Rotary Club of LaGrange, Rotary Club of North Cobb, Rotary Club of Peachtree City, Rotary Club of Roswell, Rotary Club of Smyrna, Rotary Club of Vinings-Cumberland, and Jennifer Holt- Roosevelt Warm Springs.
Partner Involvement
Narayan Sangupta, Roger Wise, Dr. Chandler Sharma Esq., Robert “Bob” Hagan , Inamullah, Amangpintor, Galen Oelkers, Alan Janssen, Lorri Christopher, Robert Prater, Jennifer Holt, Lou Alvarado, Elwyn Gaissert and Chris Brand -Sgt at Arms, Rajajapala Sridaran from Morehouse School of Medicine, Yaarab Shriners of North Georgia, Rotary International, Rotary District 6900, CDC, UNICEF, FODAC, Rotary Club of Dunwoody, Rotary Club of LaGrange, Rotary Club of North Cobb, Rotary Club of Peachtree City, Rotary Club of Roswell, Rotary Club of Smyrna, Rotary Club of Vinings-Cumberland, and Jennifer Holt- Roosevelt Warm Springs.

Attachments

with RCEC Pres

Welcome remarks from Pia Valeriano, RCEC president

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afghanistan

Update from Afghanistan

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with participants

Listening intently

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Roger wise

Roger offered the Shriners Auditorim

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key contributros

Polio Symposium Supporters

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Iron Lung

Demo of the Iron lung during Polio Symposium

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