Rotary showing film on polio
Polio isn't a problem in Yuma, but it still rages in pockets of the third world. Rotary International is here to help.
The Yuma Sunrise Rotary Club is hosting a film screening Sunday to raise funds and awareness for the greater Rotary push to snuff out the potentially devastating childhood disease that is poliomyelitis.
The local club will show “The Shot Felt ‘Round the World: The Untold Pittsburgh Polio Story,” a 2005 documentary detailing the history of the groundbreaking polio vaccine. The event will also include a panel with guests such as Dr. Peter Salk, eldest son of the vaccine's pioneer, Dr. Jonas Salk, and Jim Wright, a polio survivor who will bring a child-sized iron lung. Tickets are still available for the screening, which starts at 4 p.m. at the Yuma Art Center and Historic Yuma Theatre downtown.
Rotary has taken a polio eradication platform for about 25 years with its PolioPlus program, working in cooperation with UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
“We're getting close,” said Chuck Nordquist from the Yuma Rotary. “Right now there's really only three countries left.”
The highly contagious polio virus can be crippling and fatal. It mainly affects children under the age of 5. Only vaccinations can prevent it.
Polio once struck fear across the United States. Jonas Salk's vaccine, introduced in 1955, and later Albert Sabin's oral vaccine, led to mass vaccinations that drastically cut down U.S. cases of the disease within a few years. Polio is, however, still endemic in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
Nordquist said it's important that people learn about polio, even though it hasn't been a menace in the U.S. for generations.
Hillary Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.