July 24 may mark one year without new polio cases for Nigeria. This could mark a major milestone for global health. John Hewko, the general secretary of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation, will be curating @Vaccines for the week to discuss the importance of Nigeria’s success in our fight to end polio globally.
Rotary International launched its polio immunization program PolioPlus in 1985, and in 1988 became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the initiative launched in 1988, polio cases have decreased by 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to less than 400 confirmed in 2014.
Hewko has been a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Hewko holds a law degree from Harvard University, a master’s in modern history from Oxford University (where he studied as a Marshall Scholar), and a bachelor’s in government and Soviet studies from Hamilton College in New York. As general secretary, Hewko leads a diverse staff of 800 at Rotary International’s World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and seven international offices.