WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Rotary clubs in Egypt battle polio

Egypt launched activities for National Immunization Day last week in response to the threat of a polio outbreak in Syria, Rotary International said on Wednesday.

Vaccination teams immunized children under the age of five, who are most at risk to the crippling disease. Teams administered the vaccines between November 17 and November 20 in health clinics and central public locations, including busy main streets and town squares.

Egyptian Rotary clubs worked with partnering organizations like the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Egyptian Ministry of Health to immunize children with the polio vaccine. Ahmes Ghabrial, the national PolioPlus chair for Rotary International in Egypt, was on hand to coordinate hundreds of Rotary members throughout Egypt to volunteer on the campaign.

Egypt has been free of polio since 2004, but officials continue immunization to prevent importing the disease from other countries. Health officials confirmed 13 polio cases in an outbreak in Syria, putting the region at risk for spreading the disease.

In December, health officials detected poliovirus from Pakistan in sewage samples in Cairo. The presence of the virus, which caused no cases in Cairo, served as a reminder that polio can be a threat to unimmunized children worldwide.

Rotary International supports Rotary clubs throughout the world by coordinating campaigns, programs and initiatives.