Since Rotary International launched PolioPlus in 1985, the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative, new cases of polio have dropped 99% from 350,000 new cases per year in 1988 to only 416 new cases in 2013. The world went from having 125 polio-endemic countries to only three: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. No child anywhere in the world should have to suffer from this completely preventable disease. It only costs 68 cents to protect a child against polio for life.
October 24 is World Polio Day. Join Rotary at www.EndPolio.org on October 24, for a live-streamed global status update on the fight to end polio. Guests will include Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, celebrity ambassadors, polio survivors and special guests. Tune in at 7:30 ET to watch the live event and take part in the conversation – we need your help to cross the finish line.
The remaining 1% of polio cases is the most difficult to reach due to the geographical isolation, poor public infrastructure, armed conflicts, and cultural barriers. While we are so very close to eradicating this terrible disease, we need to keep up the same intensity to cross the finish line and be able to say goodbye to polio forever.
Completely eradicating polio MATTERS for several essential reasons:
- The human cost: If we choose to control polio rather than eradicate it, polio could rebound to 10 million cases in the next 40 years. The majority of children who contract this crippling disease are under the age of five.
- It is achievable: We have the tools to end polio and the means t o reach all children. The new, bivalent vaccine successfully targets the two remaining strains of polio in one dose.
- It is a good investment: An independent study published in the medical journal Vaccine estimates the $9 billion global investment in a polio-free world will net an economic benefit of $40 to 50 billion over the next 20 years.
- It strengthens the system: Our polio eradication efforts have established an active disease surveillance network in all countries that is being used for other health interventions such as measles vaccinations, deworming tablets, and mosquito bed nets.
- It sets the stage: The ability to reach all children with the polio vaccine is proof of concept that we can succeed on our next major global health initiative.
From 2013 to 2018, every donation that Rotary makes to WHO and UNICEF in direct support of polio immunization will be TRIPLED thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will match donations 2-1 up to $35 million per year. To-date Rotary has contributed over $1.2 billion to this effort through the vast generosity of its members and community fundraising, resulting in the vaccination of over 2 billion children in 122 countries.
Donations towards polio eradication can be made at the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie office at 364 Queen St East from October 20th to October 24th, or visit www.EndPolio.org to learn about Rotary’s efforts to end polio, and give to the cause.
The Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie has been an active part of the community since 1918. Its primary charitable mandate is to offer support to children with physical disabilities. This is done in close partnership with Easter Seals Ontario through fundraising projects such as the Take Your Pick Car Draw, Snowarama, TD Canada Trust Change for Change in the Lives of Easter Seals Children, Easter Seals Telethon and Battle of the Sections. The Club also supports community- building events like ROTARYFEST, Student Exchange programs, Bell Celebrity Skate and Swim Presented by Agero, District Science Fair presented by Tenaris Algoma Tubes and the Sault Ste. Marie Sports Awards dinner.