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Selected Category: Polio

Stepping Up to Take Down Polio

Categories: General, Polio, Response

Men painting billboard for polio vaccination campaign

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease that is completely preventable. Since 1988, members of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), including CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary, and UNICEF, have teamed up to eradicate polio world-wide through large scale vaccination efforts. Global polio cases are down more than 99% since GPEI began. We were able to completely eradicate the disease in the Americas by 1994 and protect our children. By 2006, polio was endemic in only four countries:  Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Despite our advances, this debilitating and deadly disease continues to afflict children from the poorest communities.

On Friday, December 2 CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center for a period of 18-24 months to support the final effort to eradicate polio, a public health emergency.

Battling Polio in Africa: Part 3, Long Days, Tedious Work, But So Rewarding

Categories: Polio

A mother waits while vaccine is drawn for her child at a field clinic in Ghana.

A mother waits while vaccine is drawn for her child at a field clinic in Ghana.

Note: This is Ted’s final posting about his experiences in Ghana volunteering for the Stop the Transmission of Polio (STOP) project during February, March, and April 2010. He returned home on May 1.

VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — Ghana is broken into a number of regions, and I was deployed to three of them. After a brief introductory period in Accra (the capital), I left for Takoradi and the Western Region. There I headed north along the Cote D’Ivoire border, where I spent the next month. I then returned to the Greater Accra Region for a month and then finished my time in the field in Volta, along the Togo border.

Battling Polio in Africa: Part 2, People Here are Resourceful, Generous

Categories: Polio

This clinic was about an hour north of Accra, Ghana. Note the 24-hour service. Most staff members live on site and are available at all times.

This clinic was about an hour north of Accra, Ghana. Note the 24-hour service. Most staff members live on site and are available at all times.

Note: This is the second in a series about Ted’s experiences in Ghana volunteering for the Stop the Transmission of Polio (STOP) project during February, March, and April 2010.

VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — During my time here in Ghana, I’ve met some wonderful public health people who are earnestly trying to make a difference. Outside of Accra, the things we take for granted are often missing. In many clinics, there is no electricity, running water, or physicians. The clinics are run by a nurse or midwife, and they generally live on site and are available 24/7 for all the community’s medical needs. They have a large book of protocols, and when people come in, they make a diagnosis, refer to their protocols, and then administer treatment. They are very friendly and dedicated staff and work under what most of us would describe as unacceptable circumstances.

Battling Polio in Africa: Part 1, Positive Reception in Every Village

Categories: Polio

Ted Pestorius squeezed a liquid capsule of vitamin A supplement to a child during a National Immunization Day in Ghana. Vitamin A helps prevent blindness.

Ted Pestorius squeezes a liquid capsule of vitamin A supplement to a child during a National Immunization Day in Ghana. Vitamin A helps prevent blindness.

Note: This is the first in a series about Ted’s experiences in Ghana during February, March, and April 2010.

VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — It’s been a good trip. I’m at the end of my 12 weeks volunteering with WHO in Ghana as a Field Officer for a STOP Team — Stop the Transmission of Polio.  As a member of team number 33, I’m one of the thousands of STOP volunteers who have participated since polio eradication began in 1988 and have been traveling from clinic to clinic across the country to review and improve their childhood immunization practices. While our emphasis is on polio, we pull records and review impact for all nine of the childhood vaccines used here in the country.

 
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