Ro­tary to mark World Po­lio Day

Grocott's Mail - - MAKANA VOICES - STAFF RE­PORTER

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

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