Finally winning the long battle against poliomyelitis

This week's Reflections looks at efforts to eliminate Polio over the years.

A young Bernie Steinmann bravely gets ‘needled’ by Miss M. Fawcett of the Wetoka Health Unit in Ponoka during the 1950s when the vital poliomyelitis immunization shots were provided to the students in the higher grades of the Ponoka and district schools. Between 1927 and 1953

Since 2013 and into 2018, the 1.2 million members of Rotary International have passionately pledged their support to join partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to achieve the final vital stages of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Their exciting goal is to ‘Make History Today by Ending Polio Now’, and their overwhelming pledge is for the Rotary International member clubs to work together to help with the raising of an ongoing part of the up to US $35 million a year that has been committed to the World Health Organization and UNICEF in direct support for ongoing polio immunization throughout the world. Due to the great efforts by so many in the medical and public sectors everywhere, the polio cases are now down 99 per cent worldwide from 350,000 cases in 1988, which is an all time low, with the only countries still left polio-endemic being Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, which will be among the most difficult challenge before the world can hope to finally be declared polio-free.

Ponoka Rotary clubs have been active in the community for many years, and the current group, which was incorporated on January 10, 2010, have been together for about six years and members include Peter Lok, Melodie Woods, Linda Steinmann, Paul Kim, Juanita Knight and Gord and Delphine Svenningson. The local club, who celebrated their participation in the Rotary International Free the World of Polio Campaign on Friday, Oct, 23 meet every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Ponoka Anglican Church, and new members are always welcome.

Other community programs and fundraisers that the Ponoka Rotary Club are pleased to be involved in have included a $50,000.00 donation to the construction of the new Ponoka Elementary School playground, sponsoring the Riverside Rotary Park Playground with the purchase of new equipment and the addition of a neighbourhood winter skating rink, sending local high school students to weekend Rotary leadership camps, as well as providing annual scholarships to our graduates. Those interested in taking part in the Ponoka Rotary Club or receiving more information on their ongoing projects and goals are welcome to phone 403-783-4472 or contact email:, and they thank everyone for their kind support.


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