Ali Maow Maalin was one of the “true heroes”of Polio eradication. He was the last person to be infected with naturally occurring smallpox in the world. He got infected because, fearing the needle would be painful, he avoided vaccination by holding his arm when vaccinators came to visit, pretending he’d already received the shot. But after recovering from the potentially deadly illness, he vowed not to let others make the same mistake.
Mr. Maalin used his own story to illustrate the importance of vaccination and became an important advocate for polio eradication in Somalia.