Rotary to mark World Polio Day
The Rotary Club of Grahamstown Sunset will join thousands of Rotary Clubs around the world to mark historic progress toward a polio-free world on World Polio Day on 24 October.
The day will see millions of Rotarians reaching out to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio – a vaccine preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world. World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
Tim Dold, President of the Rotary Club of Grahamstown Sunset said, “We commit a donation every year from our club fundraising to Rotary’s PolioPlus programme. Today, there are only three countries where the transmission of the wild poliovirus must still be stopped: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Just 37 polio cases were confirmed worldwide in 2016, which is a reduction of more than 99.9% since the 1980s, when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day. It’s a miraculous programme. We are on the brink of ending the second human disease in history (the first was smallpox in 1980). But, until polio is eradicated, all countries remain at risk of outbreaks.”
To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million per year over the next three years in support of global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s commitment 2:1. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralysing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.
The polio cases represented by the remaining one percent are the most difficult to prevent, due to factors including geographical isolation, poor public infrastructure, armed conflict and cultural barriers.
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a paralysing and potentially fatal disease.
The polio virus 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.
Rotary has contributed more than US$1.7 billion to ending polio since 1985. More than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries have been vaccinated since the launch of the PolioPlus programme in 1985.
We commit a donation every year from our club fundraising to Rotary’s PolioPlus programme