With the recent announcement of the World Health Organization that transmission of the wild poliovirus has officially been stopped in all 47 countries of the African region, Rotary and its partners are celebrating this historic and vital step toward global eradication of polio, which is Rotary’s top priority.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a paralyzing and potentially deadly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of five. The virus spreads from person-to-person, typically through contaminated water. It can then attack the nervous system.
In 1985, Rotary launched the PolioPlus campaign and then spearheaded the formation of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a partnership of national governments, Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. After decades of hard won gains in the region, Rotary offers this latest achievement as proof that strong commitment, coordination, and perseverance can rid the world of polio.
From 122 countries in 1988 to now just two, and 350,000 cases to just 102 so far this year, the world stands on the threshold of ridding the world of polio forever. The two remaining countries are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Conflict, along with challenges in reaching mobile populations, had hampered efforts to immunize children there.
For most of the past 15 years Rotary has marked this 99.9 per cent success rate of this partnership and need for continued effort to finish the job with World Polio Day, this year on Oct. 24, which commemorates the birth of Jonas Salk, who, in 1955, led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
To salute World Polio Day, Rotary Club of Ladner is holding Pumpkins for Polio sales event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ladner Rotary tent in the parking lot of Tsawwassen Mills mall with pandemic health and safety protocols followed.
All proceeds will go to the End Polio campaign.
For every US$3 donated to the campaign, a child is fully protected against polio and is given a chance to lead a fulfilling life and, when matched twice by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, three children are spared the life crippling, sometimes lethal, disease.
To date, Rotary has contributed more than US$1.8 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than 2.5 billion children around the world.Rotary has also played a major role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than US$8 billion to the polio eradication effort. Canada has supported this campaign over time with US$640 million.
To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million more per year in support of global polio eradication efforts. For more information: endpolio.org.
Rotary International, with 1.2 million business and professional leaders as members in 35,000 clubs in 200 countries, is the world’s first non-profit service organisation, and one of the largest, serving local communities and providing worldwide humanitarian service and building goodwill and peace in the world.www.rotary.org.