sábado, 24 de outubro de 2009


Dr. Albert Sabin, inventor of the oral polio vaccine, was also a strong proponent of the mass immunization against that disease. He had tested its effectiveness in the Soviet Union, in Eastern Europe and in Cuba. In those days the majority of the world leaders on public health preferred a more gradual approach, directed simultaneously to several diseases preventable with vaccination through routine immunization programs, which could be sustainable. Due to that reason they didn’t promptly accepted the «vertical programs» against polio.
Albert Sabin lived in a beautiful Cincinnati town in the State of Ohio, which I’m very fond of, molded in a very elegant architecture, where one instantaneously verifies its ascendancy in German immigration. He was an honorary member of the local Rotary Club. Frequently gave speeches in clubs and at conferences of the district. In 1980 was invited to participate as a speaker in the Chicago Convention. He ended his speech challenging the organization to get involved in the mass immunization against polio.
The conceptualization of the definitive elimination of the polio virus by Rotary slowly started, therefore, to take its course. The germination of the ideas, the sedimentation of the convictions regarding the facts of such an endeavor and the construction of financial and political instruments that would evolve into such a noble purpose, marked the seventies decade.
The joint efforts of the three consecutive presidents of RI, Jack Davis, Glem Renouf and James Bomar, led to the formation of the 3 H Program, which ended up growing and normally evolving into the PolioPlus Program.
W. Jack Davis, from Bermuda, which arrived to the presidency in July of 1977, had a very strong motto, Serve to Unit Mankind. He suggested the Commission in charge of planning the 75th Anniversary of RI to consider a program related to the International Year of the Child of the United Nations, in 1979.
Davis sent his executive assistant Herbert Pigman to the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the ways Rotary could continue with its proposal to fight poliomyelitis. The WHO was not very encouraging. The representatives in charge
painted a dark picture regarding costs – as well in terms of human resources as in economic terms – to inoculate the children of the world with the vaccine against polio. They even gave little value to the Rotary Program of immunization that in only one round took place in Guatemala, as if it wasn’t more than a well intentioned effort that, more than helping, would embarrass the main WHO goals.
(To be continued in C)

Henrique Pinto

October 09 in World Polio Day
PHOTOS: During a NID Henrique Pinto, as a doctor, examines an ill child on the road to Nambuangongo, Angola, while Manuel Cardona essays to make a new picture; Jack Davis, Bermudas, RI president 1977/8

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