If you speak to anyone about polio, they will probably look puzzled and say: “I thought polio didn’t exist anymore.” Polio is still here though, albeit only in 3 countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria).
THERE IS NO CURE. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IT CAN BE PREVENTED BY VACCINATION/IMMUNISATION.
Since 1985 Rotary’s key humanitarian priority has been to rid the world of polio. When the campaign started there were over 1,000 polio cases a day in 125 countries, paralysing and even killing children.
Today, the number of cases is down by 99.9%.
Inspired in part by Rotary’s volunteer commitment and fundraising success, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched in 1988. This remarkable partnership which includes Rotary, World Health Organization, UNICEF, the US Center for Disease Control & Prevention and, more recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Over the last 30 years, Rotary has donated US$1.8 billion to polio eradication, which includes over $ 39 million coming from Great Britain & Ireland. Over 2.5 billion children will have been protected from the disease through vaccination programmes.
As a result of local fundraising, Berkhamsted Rotarians are able donate £2,400 each year. In the last 3 years alone, Berkhamsted Rotary’s donations will have led to the vaccination of over 100,000 children.
Polio has no place in the 21st Century …and we are so close to eradicating it. If every country in the World is free from cases of polio for 3 years the disease will be deemed to have been eradicated. Polio will become only the second disease, after smallpox, to have been eradicated; a great aim we're sure you will agree.
A major partner in the GPEI is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which matches the contributions that Rotary makes worldwide.
This short video explains why Bill & Melinda Gates are so passionate about the issue