Archive for March, 2010

Football legend Kanu aims to kick polio out of Nigeria…

March 31, 2010

Public service announcement urges parents to immunize their children

NIGERIA’S soccer captain Nwankwo Kanu has two goals for 2010: he wants Nigeria to shine at the upcoming World Cup, and he wants to eradicate polio from Africa.

“I’ve scored many goals for my country,” the 33-year-old striker says in a series of Public Service Announcements now airing across Nigeria on radio and TV. “But there’s still one goal I want to score: I want to kick polio out of Nigeria.”

Nigeria is the only country in Africa that has never stopped polio transmission. However, repeated immunization campaigns of improving quality have the country on the cusp of making history: this year, only one case of polio has been reported across Nigeria. And if Nigeria can eradicate polio, Africa can quickly become polio-free.

In the PSAs, Kanu appeals to parents across Nigeria to help consign polio to memory. “Most of the countries in Africa have kicked out polio,” he says, “let’s do the same. Be a good parent. Do what I have done and immunize your child against polio.”

Kanu, who has played with Ajax in Holland, Inter Milan in Italy, and Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth in the English Premier League, is the most decorated African footballer in history, having won the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Cup, the Premier League title, the FA Cup and having captained Nigeria to Olympic Gold. Individually, he has also won two African Player of the Year awards.

Although coming to the end of his international career – this will be his fourth World Cup – Kanu remains a hugely influential figure in Nigeria, both for his exploits on the field and for his work as patron of the Kanu Heart Foundation and his role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Kanu did not hesitate when asked to participate in Nigeria’s fight against polio. “I understand I’m a role model,” Kanu said. “As footballers, children look up to us. If this can help more children get immunized against polio, then that’s a good thing.”

In 2009, Nigeria reported 388 cases of polio. This year, as of 24 March 2010, it has reported only one.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative wishes to thank Queens Park Rangers Football Club and the Mittal family for making Loftus Road Stadium available for filming.

New press release…

March 28, 2010

Please find the latest KPOA press release in the ‘Press Information’ folder or click this link.

Also find the latest KPOA social media release here.

Historic ball visits first Arabic country on the continent …

March 26, 2010

Above is the EPN logo in Arabic and below, a  colourful banner designed by Rotarians in Sudan to promote the powerful message behind this strategically important initiative – to End Polio Now and Kick Polio out of Africa once and for all.

The exciting three-day programme for the visit of the ball from March 25 – 27 includes the presentation of the ball to the Sudanese Health Minister at a press launch for 200 attendees; today – Friday March 26, the football will be the centrepiece of a premiership match in Khartoum between two of the biggest clubs in the country attended by thousands of fans before it continues its journey to South Sudan early Saturday morning.

Photographs and report to follow. A press release by Rotary International dated March 26 entitled Rotary volunteers in Sudan welcome football on its 22-country journey has been posted.

Readers following this blog can also link to the KPOA social media release at http://pitch.pe/52316 by Sandra Prufer, RI’s Africa Media Relations Specialist,  which provides an excellent comprehensive overview of the KPOA project to date. Take a look.

Committed to a polio free Ethiopia by 2011

March 25, 2010

Saturday – March 20, marked the arrival of this symbolic “ball” in Addis Ababa,  Ethiopia. A grand celebration on a glorious sunny day took place at the Open Garden of Ghion Hotel attended by His Excellency President Girma Woldegiorghis of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Dr. Kebede Worku State Minister, Federal Ministry of Health. Many high ranking Government Officials, African Diplomats, members of Rotary International Partners in the polio eradication initiative – the Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF, CDC – and Core Groups attended, as well as polio victims – youths from Cheshire Services Ethiopia, soccer players, Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors.

Right: Post polio paralysis children from Cheshire Services Ethiopia present flowers to the President on his arrival. About 450 people were present at the event – all wearing Kick Polio Out of Africa t-shirts and caps. A bumper sticker with the KPOA message was given to all participants for their cars to promote the campaign.

A moving sight as Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors and children from Cheshire Services march to the President, holding the Ethiopian Flag, Kick Polio out of Africa and EPN banners singing – “Kick Polio Out of Africa and End Polio Now” in English and Amharic.

An exciting moment when DHL delivered “The ball” which was ceremoniously received by the Chair and members of the National PolioPlus Committee.

Chairman PDG Nahu-Senaye Araya, thanks Paul Harris Fellow President Girman for his continued support sharing the good news that … “In the last two years, no polio cases have been reported in Ethiopia. If all goes well during the coming year – Ethiopia will be declared a POLIO FREE COUNTRY in 2011”

His Excellency President Girma Woldegiorghis of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia signs the ball declaring his personal commitment … “We still have work to do, we haven’t finished the eradication of polio yet – we shall continue our commitment”.

Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, WHO Representative, who spoke on behalf of the Partners, then gave the ball to the polio victim youths of Cheshire Services Ethiopia saying: “Sorry we were late for you, but we will not let down your next generation”.

The celebration was approriately concluded after His Excellency the President and two polio victim youths immunised four children.

The historic ball restarted its long journey to Khartoum in the the Sudan on Monday 23 March, 2010.

More on the “humanitarian ball” in Kenya

March 24, 2010

“It does not come anywhere near your valuable World Cup Trophy, neither is its trip in 22 Africa countries eliciting as many feelings as the recent World Cup Trophy Tour did. But to those who have been affected by polio, this ball means the world” writes Sammy Kitula in a superb article on the KPOA campaign in The Daily Nation on March 22. 

In the photograph is AG Linda Longhurst with the head boy of Joy Town Primary School for the handicapped in Thika, together with a number of members of staff.   “I would have been a professional footballer had I not contracted polio at an early age” noted Saddam Hussein Ali, the school’s captain.  

Mahmud Abdulla of the RC Naivasha brightened the day of the children at Mirera Primary School, the largest primary school in Kenya with approximately 3,500 children when he visited with the ball. The school benefits from the Free Primary Education fund program sponsored by the Kenya Government. The Rotary Club of Naivasha has many projects with the school including building of a 10,000L water tank, provision of reference books such as dictionaries, atlases, reading books, etc. This photograph is taken in front of an ablution block, one of 4 being built through matching grant funds.

Next stop – Ethiopia …

Rotary team work in action …

March 24, 2010

The Kick Polio Out of Africa campaign is Rotary team work in action, at its very best. Collaborative team work can turn a dream into a reality and that dream was founded in 1996 when Nelson Mandela launched the KPOA campaign.

There are many players on the KPOA team, but not all may be familiar with the dynamic duo of Petina Dixon-Jenkins (Lead Media Relations Specialist: PolioPlus) and Sandra Prufer (Africa Media Relations Specialist) of Rotary International who provide daily support and motivation to our team. If you want to put a name to a face – here they are (left and right) –

On the ball in Kenya…

March 22, 2010

Standing in as KPOA coordinator in Nairobi at the eleventh hour, Geeta Manek writes: “The ball is in my hands and I’m trembling! This ball has been to some awesome places and I am thrilled to bits to be the first Rotarian to have it in my possession! ”

The ball has gathered lots of positive energy during its incredibly successful four day visit to Kenya from March 15 – 18. These are some of the highlights:

The Prime Minister of Kenya – His Excellency Raila Odinga with Geeta Manek , Rtn Anju Paunrana and Jessy Benawra . The Prime Minister, who is a great football fan, will be coming to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. His Excellency was very happy to provide Rotarians an audience, at short notice, to acknowledge the wonderful contribution Rotarians and its global partners have made in the eradication of Polio.

The Minister of Public Health – The Hon. Beth Mugo signing the ball in her office and full of praise for the work Rotarians are doing. This photograph appeared in the Kenya Times on March 16.

To the left – The Mayor of Nairobi with Miss Kenya – Fiona Koncellah and KPOA coordinator Geeta Manek.

Below – Rotarian Alan Simu with Doctors and staff at the clinic in Kibera, the slum of slums, where Rotarians carry out grassroots immunisations. Photograph alongside: Street boys who have been rehabilitated, work hard to build the community at the Kibera informal settlement. They are agents of change in the community through sports – especially football.

The ball was also received with great enthusiasm and fanfare at a number of Rotary club meetings. Geeta writes: “We have now added a small autograph book (very tiny and virtually weightless) as lots of officials and dignitaries wanted to sign the ball.  I am truly proud of Rotarians in Kenya – this is teamwork at its best! Thanks for motivating and inspiring all the Rotarians in Kenya”.

Polio monthly situation reports…

March 22, 2010

Please visit http://www.polioeradication.org for regular updates on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. All data in the latest report refers to 09 March 2010. This report has been developed jointly with Rotary International, CDC and UNICEF. The French version will be available on 22 March 2010 on http://www.polioeradication.org.

You can also click this link to access the latest report.

Precious cargo touches down in Uganda …

March 14, 2010

The ball touched down in Kampala on 10 March (Wednesday) to a rousing reception. Henry Kyemba (to the left) and his team were determined that the ball should travel far and wide in Uganda, and it did! Henry Kyemba reports …

First stop, a lunch time meeting of the RC of Kampala West, then on to a City Council clinic where the Minister of Health, the Minister of State for Primary Health and the WHO representative attended. All spoke and two Ministers kicked the ball!

Several media companies were in attendance and many Rotarians. Masses of mothers had brought children for immunization. There were also about one hundred primary school children present. That night, the ball visited the 100 member Rotary club of Muyena Kampala.

Thursday 11th March was packed with even more activity at the oldest missionary hospital in Uganda, and then on to the lunch time meeting of the oldest club in Uganda: the Rotary Club of Kampala (RIDE Sam Owori’s club). Later the ball was received in Parliament at a special session before it left for the Source of the Nile, Jinja, to symbolically start a journey that would follow River Nile from source here to the estuary in Mediterranean Sea.

After the session in Parliament : L/R : R.I.Director Elect Sam Owori, PDG Robert Sebunya, Cordinator(Uganda) PDG Henry Kyemba and the Speaker of Parliament, Past President Rotary Club of Rubaga, Hon. Edward Sekandi (and the KPOA soccer ball!)

At Jinja, the historic source of the Nile –  L/R: Rotary President J.B. Otema Adonga, Rotary Club, Source of the Nile, NPPC and Cordinator KPOA, Uganda, PDG Henry Kyemba, The President’s Representative in the District, Mr. Christopher Bagonza, and In-Coming  Rotary President, (2010/11) of the Rotary Club of Kampala, Rtn. Edward Bakoja.

The source of the Nile is deeply symbolic and can serve as a real icon to this Polio Campaign, as it is one of the most powerful and mystical natural spiritual symbols of this so magical and wonderful Mother Continent of Africa. Consistent strong branding coupled with local media initiatives has strengthened the resolve of Rotarians in Uganda to Kick Polio Out of Africa.

Friday 12th March, we started off in Jinja with a visit to the Muljibhai Madhvani Kakira Sugar Works, where we had a very enthusiastic immunisation exercise of many children and a mini-soccer training exercise, with the estate’s soccer team.

We then left for Kampala  for the courtesy call on the the Prime Minister of Uganda, Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, at his home, himself a Past President of the Rotary Club of Kampala West, after he had narrowly escaped injury in a helicopter accident, two days earlier! This photograph was taken at his residence, with the Kick Polio Out of Africa delegation led by the Cordinator, PDG Henry Kyemba, accompanied by President-elect, Kampala Club: Edward Bakoja, PP John Kirkwood, Asst. Cordinator and Rtn. Yusuf Ddumba.

Then  followed great Rotary fellowship with the Rotary Club of Kampala, Kibuli, followed by the Rotaract 42nd Birthday celebrations, with the Kick Polio Out of Africa Ball, as Chief Guest, and Cake cutting!

We ended the night, with an Afrigo Band performance for the “Kick Polio Out of Africa occasion”, attended by many Rotarians and band enthusiasts, up to the early hours Saturday morning! Just left in time to catch the DHL schedule!

Interactive map of Africa tackling Polio…

March 11, 2010

This link leads to an interactive map of the incredible efforts of African nations tackling the Polio virus together in unity.

Please click the map (left) to be redirected to the full interactive Google Maps page and read up on the progress the nations have made.

You will also find some information on campaigns and milestones in the battle against the virus.