May, 2019
Well here we are nearing the end of another Rotary year!! Summer keeps peeking out but so far has not won out over Spring!!
While Debbie and I are enjoying the cruise to the end we are still busy finalizing reports like all the clubs, and attending meetings to deliver the District Awards and help install new members. We are also busy preparing for a wedding – ours! -- that will be the icing on the cake to finish this amazing ride!
We are sure June will be a whirlwind of club officer installations, delivering District awards, fundraising and social events and of course the installation of our successors Steve and Jill Albright and the officers for next year. Time to take a deep breath, fill the tank, both literally and figuratively, and finish at top speed so the clubs and leaders will have the momentum to carry on all the wonderful projects, changes and innovations started this year.
Online membership promotion
A prime goal for all clubs is building membership and our district Public Image Committee is continuing its test of Facebook advertising to drive prospective Rotarians to your club website. The new ad, shown here, will run for two weeks in the middle of June. When it comes up on your screen, click to Like it and Share it so your friends will get a personal endorsement from you.
Club presidents and webmasters -- If you get any contacts from the ad please let me know so we can evaluate the effectiveness of the investment.
Polio is still with us
I just received a sobering communication from Mike McGovern, chair of Rotary International’s PolioPlus Committee, talking about the difficulties in getting eradication of polio from the one-yard line into the end zone. I thought it was important enough to share with all of you -- see below.
Yours in Rotary Service,
We will Evolve Strategy to End Polio
Mike McGovern
Rotary International PolioPlus Committee Chair
This morning's email brought notice of two more polio cases in Pakistan. I dread these emails. Reading through the email of the most recent case, it goes on: "The child belongs to a Middle­ class family; father is a cloth Merchant with frequent travel to Querta.   A chronic refusal family. According to father he doesn't trust on vaccine quality and efficacy.  Site of paralysis: Right and left Lower Limb"
This e-mail reminds us that any announcement of a polio case involves a family and a child who face a new reality.  I pray that this father's new reality includes an understanding that he made an error of judgment and while there is no cure for polio, there is a cure for unfounded fear  It is to step up in his community and to speak out so that other parents do not make the same mistake. Fortunately, most parents understand how vaccines can help their children.
Thanks to vaccines, 350,000 disabling cases of polio in 1988 dropped to 33 last year. Thanks to vaccines, there has been an 80% drop in deaths due to measles since 2000, but still over 110,000 died from the disease in 2017. Measles cases in the world quadrupled last year and we are also seeing an uptick in polio cases.
A November 2018 article on the WHO website has some thoughts to be considered. "The increase in measles cases is deeply concerning, but not surprising," said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. "Complacency about the disease and the spread of falsehoods about the vaccine in Europe, a collapsing health system in Venezuela and pockets of fragility and low immunization coverage in Africa are combining to bring about a global resurgence of measles after years of progress. Existing strategies need to change: more effort needs to go into increasing routine immunization coverage and strengthening health systems. Otherwise we will continue chasing one outbreak after another."
Can the same be said about polio? In mid-May, I met with Dr. Berkley, and the directors of the WHO, the CDC, UNICEF and Global Health for the Gates Foundation and this very question served as a backdrop for our discussions. We know from a technical viewpoint how to end polio. Our challenge now is how to reach those who refuse vaccines and who are taken in by false narratives. My belief is that to reach every last child with polio drops the polio partnership needs to do exactly as Dr. Berkley said.  
The Rotary polio program has been known as PolioPlus since its beginning. We know the villages that are inaccessible due to fears or actions by anti­ government elements. It is going to take the "plus" of PolioPlus to overcome our opponents.
FDR, a polio survivor said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself ' We have come so far with optimism, innovation, determination and the generosity of Rotarians. As we near the end of polio, we need to evolve strategy and overcome fear and we will be able to do so with your continuing generosity.
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