Rotarians across the globe are talking about the importance of our End Polio Now campaign, as part of the World Health Organisation's World Immunisation Week.
Of course everyone is talking about vaccines at the moment: the need for a COVID-19 vaccine before life can return to normal after lockdown in so many countries. But Rotarians can continue to tell their friends and colleagues how close we are to eradicating polio.
The two are linked.
While the polio vaccination programme in some countries will be reduced at the moment because of the risk to volunteers and front line health workers, the infrastructure developed over the last few years is being used to support monitoring of COVID-19. This is particularly the case in the countries that still run mass vaccination programmes such as Nigeria and Pakistan.
An extract from a report by Mike McGovern, Chair of the Rotary International PolioPlus Committee and John Germ, Past Rotary International President and Chair of the Polio Countdown to History Committee:
"A program begun by Rotary is employing thousands of health workers to address the Covid-19 pandemic. The program is the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) which includes Rotary’s PolioPlus program. From the earliest days of polio eradication in the Philippines, the generosity and advocacy of Rotarians and our partners has nearly stopped polio, stopped Ebola from becoming an epidemic in Nigeria and now responds to Covid-19.
Over the next four to six months the polio program is offering its tools, workforce and extensive surveillance network to support countries as they respond. Globally, the polio surveillance network is being trained on Covid case detection, contact tracing, laboratory testing and data management. GPEI is deploying its coordination mechanisms such as emergency operations centers and sharing physical assets like vehicles, computers and mobile phones to combat the pandemic."
Read the full statement issued in early April.
More information can be found on the following sites:
updated April 2020
more District resources, links to RIBI and RI pages and to the World Polio Eradication Initiative pages
more report of a presentation in Oxford on 14th October 2019 by Dr Abdi Mahamud, the Polio Eradication Initiative National Team Leader for the World Health Organisation in Pakistan
more Following the success of our crocus planting over the last two years, find out how your Rotary Club or RHS Group can help paint District 1090 in the Thames Valley even more Purple4Polio in the Spring of 2021.
more All the hard work in October and November was worth it - the Thames Valley turns purple
more the history of polio, the vaccine and the eradication programme
more Rotary's polio campaign is supported by many famous faces
more Rotary clubs and their Purple4Polio partners all over the District are well under-way with their crocus planting to raise awareness for End Polio Now.
more response to reports of a polio vaccine shortage
back Rotary's remarkable commitment. Working with an incredible network of people, we really are so close to eradicating polio.