by Steve Vodhanel
Polio still exists in the world!
This November, Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy will be sending assistant professor Jim Pinder, JD, MBA, to the 5th West Africa Project Fair and Polio Immunization Program in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa. Pinder will be partnering with Rotary International for hands-on participation in polio eradication, while at the same time representing Loma Linda University with humanitarian field work for the needs and challenges of West Africa. “The Adventist church does not have health care facilities in Benin, and this is an opportunity to represent Loma Linda University and partner with Rotary International for the worldwide effort to eradicate polio,” states Pinder.
Polio, at the peak of the endemic and prior to 1988, was paralyzing more than 1,000 children every day. When the disease strikes, 1-in-200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs), and 5-10% die when breathing muscles become immobilized. According to Pinder, people in first-world countries might not be aware of how serious polio is and what it can do to you or that it even still exists today.
In Africa it’s a different story. As this disease has been eradicated in most areas of the globe, Nigeria is one of the four countries which have yet to interrupt the endemic transmission of wild poliovirus. (India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan remain the other three countries.) Thus far, in 2009, 768 people have been infected with polio worldwide.
The message is clear - polio still exists in the world. Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy is proud to join Rotary International in the fight to eradicate polio worldwide.