Polio Plus
I’m Paul Brochu, a member of the Plymouth, NH club and DG Mike Carrier has asked me to serve our District 7850 as our first PolioPlus Advocate.  As the PolioPlus Advocate, I’ll help keep Rotary’s commitment to the eradication of polio in the public eye, to provide any assistance that I can to District 7850 clubs as they help with Rotary’s polio eradication effort, and to help raise funds for Rotary’s End Polio campaign.
I’m a retired Navy Medical Service Corps Officer and spent the last 23 years of my 30-year Navy career focused on public health.  In 2019, I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in a Rotary National Immunization Day trip to India to see first-hand the impact Rotary continues to have in the worldwide effort to eradicate polio.  I look forward to talking and working with many of you over the next year and you’ll be hearing more from me!
Polio Plus Updates
I’d like to talk about a couple of challenges to polio eradication that we still need to manage on this journey to zero polio: exported cases of wild polio and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2). 
On May 18, 2022, health authorities in Mozambique confirmed that a child had contracted wild poliovirus type 1.  The child had first experienced paralysis in March of 2022.  This case in Mozambique followed an earlier case of wild poliovirus type 1 in a child in Malawi in mid-February 2022.  The virus in both cases were gene sequenced and were found to be linked genetically to a polio strain that was circulating in Pakistan.  Because these cases were imported from Pakistan, they do not represent a change in Africa’s polio-free status.  Mozambique and Malawi, along with Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have increased their ongoing vaccination campaigns in response to these cases.1  
On the Rotary International calendar, May is “Youth Service Month”.  We recognize, focus upon, and celebrate our youth service groups: Interact, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Rotary Youth Exchange, and New Generations Service Exchanges.  These programs help young individuals grow and become leaders of the future, changing their lives for the better.  They benefit thousands of young people the world over as well as society at large through the beneficial actions of those who participate in these programs.
During my active duty military career, I was very fortunate that the Navy chose to send me to the Harvard University School of Public Health two times, the first for my Masters degree and the second for my Doctoral degree in environmental health and industrial hygiene.  “Industrial Hygiene” is the science of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling hazardous workplace conditions that may cause workers injury or illness1.  These can be chemical, biological, or physical hazards. 
During my time at Harvard, we were often reminded that Dr. Philip Drinker, a professor of industrial hygiene at the university from 1921 to 1960, invented the “iron lung” with Louis Shaw in 1928.  While the device was originally developed to aid victims of coal gas poisoning, it aided thousands of patients stricken with polio.
The article appearing below was prepared as part of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Centennial Celebration and I hope that you will find it interesting for its historical context in the history of polio and polio eradication.  This is reprinted in its entirety with the permission of the Office of Communications at the Harvard School of Public Health.
This installment has some recent, encouraging information out of Afghanistan.  The first piece of good news is that, on January 17, 2022, UNICEF reported that the first national polio immunization campaign for 2022 began across Afghanistan.  The campaign aimed to immunize 9.9 million children under the age of five. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative in Afghanistan, Dr. Dapeng Luo, stated that WHO has an additional five national immunization campaigns planned for the country in 2022.1
The impact of polio infection is, as with most things in this world, incredibly complex.  Decades after a person is infected with polio, they can face a variety of debilitating symptoms collectively referred to as the “late effects of polio” or “post-polio syndrome”.  Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a malady that is much less well known than polio itself, so let’s delve into this a bit more this month.
As I talk with Rotarians across our District, the most frequent question on many of their minds is “What is the prognosis for eradicating polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially since the United States has departed Afghanistan and the Taliban has taken over?” In response to this interest, I’d like to talk a bit about the situation in these countries.
World Polio Day is celebrated on October 24 and Rotarians across the globe take action to raise awareness, funds, and support to eradicate polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world.  
In 1988 the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched by Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Childrens Fund, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.  At that time, there were over 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries each year.  The number of polio cases has been reduced by 99.9 percent since then.
Clubs all over the world conduct a wide variety of events including vaccination clinics, online viewing of Rotary’s World Polio Day Global Online Update, “Pints for Polio” events at local restaurants and bars, news conference, information tables, concerts, and many, many other events.  How has your club supported World Polio Day? District Governor Mike Carrier asked that question here in District 7850 and we received a wide variety of responses 
While many Rotarians may remember a time when polio was a very real health threat in the United States, others may not.  So, this month, I thought I’d write about “What Is Polio”?