Eyewitness to Polio Immunization Days in Nigeria

By Obiya Williams, a member of the Rotaract Club of Abakaliki, Nigeria

Nigerian Rotaractor Obiya Williams (center) with other independent monitors during National Immunization Days. Photo courtesy of Obiya Williams

During the second week of January, I was invited by a friend to a seminar in Abakaliki organized by the World Health Organization to train youth to assist in monitoring immunization efforts. At the end of the program, they conduct a test.

Luckily for me, I received a text several days later congratulating me for my test results and inviting me to serve as an independent monitor with a team taking part in National Immunization Days in February. After four days, I did not want it to end.

Listening to mothers share their previous vaccination experiences and working with a team of committed health care workers, doctors, and nurses was an uplifting experience. I also had a chance to visit with polio survivors and hear their stories of resilience and determination.

I was happy to be part of the team, trekking under the sun in search of children under the age of 5. I am proud my team was able to vaccinate thousands of children. A high point of the experience was watching our dedicated volunteers work with reluctant parents and convince them to allow their children to be vaccinated. It was a lot of work, but it was Rotary in action. We all worked together and developed bonds of friendship.

My experience motivated other Rotaractors to attend the seminars, and seek opportunities to serve as independent monitors. Let’s join hands to combat polio and let peace work through our actions. A donation of just $.60 helps save a child from polio. Together we can prevent other children from suffering from this horrible disease.