Poliomyelitis (polio) is a paralysing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. The poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. It can strike at any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio is incurable, but completely vaccine-preventable.
Rotarians the world over became engaged with the campaign to eradicate polio in the mid 1980s. From being a worldwide scourge with some 1000 cases per day, polio is now endemic in only two countries. Rotary and its partners now need to make a final push to kill off the polio virus, once and for all. We are so close to our goal.
The latest figures (February 2023) show 2 cases in Afghanistan, and 20 during 2022 in Pakistan. 8 cases were recorded in Mozambique, but it now appears that intensive surveillance methods are working.
Since the start of the campaign over 30 years ago, we have reduced the number of polio cases by 99.9 per cent and reached more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries with the vaccine.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private source of funding for the Global Polio Eradication Program, and currently the Foundation is contributing $2 for every $1contributed to End Polio Now up to $50m per year.
Join Rotary in the final push to end polio and help make history today.
[Photos © Rotary International; creators - Alyce Henson and Rajesh Kumar Singh]
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