Posted on Sep 25, 2020
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a paralyzing and potentially deadly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5. The virus spreads from person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can then attack the nervous system.
With the recent announcement of the World Health Organization that transmission of the wild poliovirus has officially been stopped in all 47 countries of the African region, Rotary and its partners are celebrating this historic and vital step toward global eradication of polio, which is Rotary’s top priority.
To salute World Polio Day, on Saturday, October 24th, Rotary Club of Ladner is holding a “Pumpkins for Polio” sales events with entire proceeds going to the End Polio campaign: 10 am to 4 pm in the parking lot of Tsawwassen Mills mall.
For every US$3.00 donated to the campaign, a child is fully protected against polio and is given a chance to lead a fulfilling life and, when matched twice by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a total of three children is spared the life crippling, sometimes lethal, disease.
In 1985, Rotary launched the PolioPlus campaign and then spearheaded the formation of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a partnership of national governments, Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. After decades of hard won gains in the region, Rotary offers this latest achievement as proof that strong commitment, coordination, and perseverance can rid the world of polio.
From 122 countries in 1988 to now just two, and 350,000 cases to just 102 so far this year, the world stands on the threshold of ridding the world of polio forever. The two remaining countries are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Conflict, along with challenges in reaching mobile populations, had hampered efforts to immunize children there.
For most of the past 15 years Rotary has marked this 99.9% success rate of this partnership and need for continued effort to finish the job with World Polio Day, this year on October 24, 2020, commemorating the birthdate of Jonas Salk, who, in 1955, led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
Thanks to the Rotary-initiated global campaign,
an estimated 2.5 billion children have been saved
from the lifetime, crippling disease of polio
Rotary volunteers work with health workers in many
countries to vaccinate children against polio
A huge effort continues not only to prevent
children contracting polio, but to continue fighting
to make sure it does come back
To date, Rotary has contributed more than US$1.8 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than 2.5 billion children around the world. Rotary has also played a major role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than US$8 billion to the polio eradication effort. Canada has supported this campaign over time with US$640 million.
To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million more per year in support of global polio eradication efforts. For more information: