My mum, now, views my WhatsApp Stories. At first, I was shocked. Let no-one mistake this to say that I said she is analogue; far from it, she just loves to keep her peace by avoiding nuisances of social media. I’m so comfortable telling on her because I’m certain that she shall never come across this article. Besides, I’m her only son – should she know I wrote of our stories – I still retain my position as her favorite (only) son. But it is a good story, relax!
On this evening, Mum and I were alone in the house and after dinner, it was time to catch up since I had been away for slightly over a month. After an hour or so of chit-chat about our recent personal pursuits, she inquired about videos – not memes – she had watched on my WhatsApp Stories – videos elaborating on Rotary’s ambition to rid the world of polio. I explained to her that her son and daughters were beneficiaries of Rotary.
To watch the video, click HERE.
To convince her, I explained that everyone who has been immunized against polio in the last thirty years is a beneficiary of Rotary’s works because Rotary and its partners finance and facilitate universal polio immunization programs. She knew that the polio virus kills and (or) paralyzes children under the age of 5. On her new realization of Rotary’s works, she was thankful that her children, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, friends and all children of the world have a chance to live a healthy life with no effects of polio courtesy of Rotary.
In hindsight, Rotary was truly ambitious to promise a polio-free world through universal immunization. Rotary was also strategic and as such pulled together partners including: UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO), Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to form the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The ambition and strategy have led to reduction of polio-related deaths from over 350,000 polio-related deaths across 125 countries in 1985 to only 33 deaths in 2 countries in 2018. To date, two of three wild polio strains have been wiped out. In essence, as compared to 1980’s, more children have a chance to live a healthy life with no effects of polio.
“The eradication of wild poliovirus type three is a critical step in Rotary’s fight to eradicate polio,” said Michael K. McGovern, Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, on #WorldPolioDay 2019 when wild poliovirus type 3 was announced to have been eradicated worldwide. “Even as we’re addressing major challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan, we continue to make historic progress that shows us that eradication is possible.” With only 2 endemic countries and only one of the three wild polio strains remaining, we’re more optimist than ever before that we shall fulfill our promise of a polio-free world.
After I had fully answered mum’s questions on polio eradication, she went onto query how well I was balancing my work and Rotaract leadership responsibilities. Being the week just after the world-record sub two-hour marathon, I won’t help but quote Eliud Kipchoge: “I don’t know where the limits are, but I would like to go there”. Just about then a girl called me, and I went out to pick the call.
You can help Rotary and its partners continue to make progress against polio. Donate online via www.endpolio.org/donate or via mobile money M-Pesa Paybill: Business No.: 891300 Account No: POLIO
Samuel Karanja, SK, is the District Rotaract Representative (DRR) for Rotary District 9212. He is a member of the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central and a past president of the Rotaract Club of JKUAT. Professionally, Samuel is an assurance (financial audit) associate at EY, formerly Ernst & Young, based in Nairobi, Kenya.