2002 NID Kickoff Photos...
On Thursday October 24th 2002, the official launch of the Polio Immunization Campaign took place at the National Palace in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian President Ghirma Wolde-Giorghis officially started the three day campaign. Our group of about 80 people from Seattle was officially recognized as were the local Rotarians, many religious leaders and other government officials. Ambassadors from several of the local embassies spoke as did DG Rosemary Aragon and former Washington Secretary of State and Rotarian Ralph Munro. Ralph and Rosemary presented the President of Ethiopia with several gifts and a Paul Harris Fellowship award for his dedication to making the country polio free. There was a group of really cute kids present that were inoculated as the official launch of the vaccination campaign.
It was interesting that several of the speakers had concerns about the "last 5%" of the effort to rid Ethiopia of polio. Much progress has been made over the years and it's been almost two years since the last confirmed case of wild polio virus has been reported in the country. Human nature being what it is and with the many problems facing Ethiopia, these concerns seemed warranted. It would be a terrible shame and waste of everyone's hard work if polio were to creep back into the country after being so close to the "finish line".
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