ROTARY - WINNING THE WAR AGAINST POLIO
World Polio Day is scheduled for Tuesday, October 24, 2017, and there is just cause to celebrate!
With just eleven cases of Polio in two countries in 2017, Rotary International – with strong support from Rotary clubs across the UK and Ireland – is edging towards ultimate victory in its campaign of 32 years to eradicate the dreaded Poliomyelitis virus from the world.
Rotary launched its worldwide campaign in 1985 when there were more than 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries around the world.
The world’s largest service club organisation was subsequently joined by several vital partners in The World Health Organisation, UNICEF, US Centres for Disease Control and Protection, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – along with many of the national governments of the world - THE UK GOVERNMENT HAS JUST RECENTLY AGREED TO GIVE A GENEROUS £100M CASH BOOST TO THE GLOBAL BATTLE AGAINST POLIO.
The discovery of another isolated case of Polio in Pakistan two weeks ago is testimony to the ongoing vigilance of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative spearheaded by Rotary.
Just THREE endemic countries remain to be declared polio free – Pakistan (five cases in 2017), Afghanistan (six cases) and Nigeria (no cases since July, 2016).
The downward spiral of reported cases in recent years is significant – 359 in 2014, 74 in 2015, 37 in 2016, and just eleven so far in 2017.
To mark this success Rotarians across Britain and Ireland are lighting up iconic buildings in purple and holding other events for World Polio Day as part of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland’s Purple4Polio campaign. Thousands of purple crocuses have been purchased by clubs and planted in town sites around the country. Purple Dye is put on the little finger to show the child has been vaccinated, which is reflected in the form of the purple crocus.
Rotary International is comprised of more 35,000 Rotary clubs in 220 countries and geographical regions – and all are being urged to mount special celebrations to highlight the importance of World Polio Day and the ongoing campaign.
Since 1985, Rotary has raised and invested US$1.9 billion in the campaign – and ongoing fund raising is vital to guarantee ultimate success.