Jamie Hunter reminded us that World Polio Day is the 24th and he was pleased to report that over the years the Midland Club has donated about $150,000.00 to the cause.  We all know that we are 'this close' but there are circumstances that make bringing this disease to its end difficult.  Smallpox has been eliminated and there are other diseases that need attention but, as Britt reported, there have been setbacks.  Volunteers have been attacked and killed in Pakistan - 60 in the last two years - and Nigeria and Doctors Without Borders have had to leave Somalia due to risks to workers' safety.

Between 5 and 10% of those infected die and there are three countries that are still developing cases.  The cost of a dose of vaccine is only sixty cents but the cost of getting the volunteers safely to their destinations drives the total up.  10 billion has been spent since 1988.  Rotary started with 6 million kids in 1979 in the Phillipines and then pledged 120 million over three years but by the time the three years was up they had raised 247 million.  All countries except Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria have been declared free, which means twelve months without a case but it can spread back across, especially when refugees are moving.

Religious conflict and misunderstanding are the two major reasons why we're not done.  The CIA hunt for Bin Laden, which included a fake vaccination team, has contributed to the misunderstanding and distrust.  The numbers are still dropping and 95% of Pakistan was reached this year.  Bill Gates says Rotary is the heart and soul of the fight and has committed to doubling donations.  Midland has been the biggest contributor in our District for years.