All You Need to Know About SEOF`s Fight Against Polio

Sir Emeka Offor- Rotary Polio Ambassador

On the 1st of March in Oraifite in Anambra State, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) in partnership with Rotary Club of Nigeria will mark National Immunization Plus day in their continued effort to eradicating Polio in Nigeria. Sir Emeka Offor is the largest African donor to Rotary club international in their effort to making sure that our world today is polio free. It will be recalled that he donated $1 million to Rotary’s polio plus program after initial $250,000 to the same club for the same purpose. However, he has continued to donate to rotary’s different aid programs like initiatives to enhance maternal and child health, education for literacy projects, peace and conflict resolution studies, etc. Offor has contributed a staggering total of more than $2.1 million making him the largest contributor from Africa throughout 108 years Rotary Club history.
Some people are wondering why donating so much money for these purposes especially on polio eradication which so many people have taken for granted. There are two perspectives that need to be straightened out for some people to have a clearer view on propelling passion why very few individuals like Sir Emeka Offor are lending hand of help to the weak and less privileged in our world from their hard earned fortune. The first being that whenever something is distributed free, somebody paid for it and we have just unmasked one of the very few individuals in the world today, who have sworn to see the irreversible end of polio. Bill and Melinda Gate foundation is another notable foundation in polio eradication and together with Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), and some few others are not sparing their time, leisure, and money so far that guarantees the everlasting end to polio. The Polio vaccine is free because of these few benefactors to millions of endangered children world over.
Polio is the common name for poliomyelitis, which comes from the Greek words for grey and marrow, referring to the spinal cord, and the suffix –itis, meaning inflammation. Poliomyelitis, shortened, became polio. For a time, polio was called infantile paralysis, though it did not affect only the young. It is caused by one of the three poliovirus of Abortive Polio, Non-paralytic polio and Paralytic polio which are members of the enterovirus genus. Polio is a highly infectious illness that spreads through contact between people, by nasal and oral secretions, and by contact with contaminated feces. Poliovirus enters the body through the mouth, multiplying along the way to the digestive tract, where it further multiplies. Up to this present world, polio has no cure, so prevention is the better option but eradication is the best option, and far less than one percent of global population are genuinely committed to its eradication which Offor happens to be at the forefront. Mortality of polio is not alarming but its effect on any infected child is "till death doeth part". Polio was eradicated in 1994 in the whole of the Western Hemisphere but is still endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Two polio vaccines are used throughout the world to combat polio. The first was developed by Jonas Salk and first tested in 1952. Announced to the world by Dr Thomas Francis Junior on April 12, 1955, it consists of an injected dose of inactivated (dead) poliovirus. An oral vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin using attenuated poliovirus. Human trials of Sabin's vaccine began in 1957 and it was licensed in 1962. United States used injected inactivated poliovirus while oral vaccine is mainly used in many parts of the world so that even none health workers canl help in this fight against polio.
The world has seen many polio victims and some have thrived in spite of it but at a huge cost. Many people are surprised to learn that U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt conducted his presidency from a wheelchair. Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 at the age of 39, and as a result, his legs were permanently paralyzed. It seemed that polio might end those political dreams of his, but Roosevelt maintained that he was getting better and pursued many experimental therapies. To maintain his public image, Roosevelt had a car with special hand controls so that he could drive, and he leaned on an aide to stand for speeches. So many others also achieved their life dreams but how many of polio victims have the will power to overcome or resources to manage the inhibitions. This is one of the main reasons SEOF was established and it is living up to its core aim.
The second reason this huge amount of money is sunk into polio eradication by these few individuals like Offor is passion. In the words of G.K Chesterton, ‘The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.’ In the case of Offor, his mind blowing donations towards helping others especially polio eradication is not because he hates those monies but because he likes the results they bring and the fact that they make others’ lives meaningful. Making a difference through passion driven commitment is the secret to a life of genuine happiness. What gladdens a heart more than knowing that your commitment to your desire has made sure polio is today eradicated in many parts of Nigeria and other parts of the world? Sir Emeka Offor has a lot in common with Bill Gates, the erstwhile richest man in the world, with common passion to see polio eradicated in the world at the core. Both were never polio victims nor do they have any polio victims either in their immediate families or communities, at least in the last 20 years. Apart from the fact that both are billionaires, they have common willingness to lend a helping hand where it is needed.

Written by Ebuka Macgodson
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