Posted by Peter Roaf on Oct 17, 2018
After launching the global campaign to rid the world of polio 30 years ago, Rotary International has involved governments, foundations and global health organizations, to reduce the number of cases worldwide from 350,000 to 22, sparing billions of children over that time from this crippling lifetime disease. Leading up to World Polio Day on October 24, 2018, the City Council of Delta, BC, discusses the importance of this End Polio Now campaign. 
PolioPlus Chair of Rotary District 5040 (51 Rotary clubs from Greater Vancouver up the coast to Prince Rupert), Brian Finley, reports these facts about the global End Polio Now campaign.
 
  • The polio eradication campaign will continue until all World Health Organization (WHO) regions are declared polio free. This does not happen until 3 years after the last case of polio is confirmed AND there has been no trace of the polio virus in water or sewage samples.
  • Of the six WHO regions, Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean regions remain to be declared polio-free
  • Immunization campaigns will continue in all countries that the GPEI considers as “at-risk” - More than 140 million children in up to 60 countries immunized every year.  
  • And as cases continue to decline, methods to detect the disease are intensifying by testing samples from people AND expanding activities to detect virus in sewer systems in an increasing number of high risk countries to be absolutely sure there is no poliovirus.
  • Rotary’s funding goes to support the activities and people needed to implement polio immunization campaigns including items such as vehicles, cold boxes, megaphones, trained vaccinators, and campaign monitors. Other partners like UNICEF fund the actual vaccine.
  • The three endemic countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria have increased their commitment and oversight.
  • Rotary has committed US$50 million per year for the next 3 years. This will be tripled by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.
  • In Delta, the Tsawwassen and Ladner Clubs raised US$54,000 for Polio Eradication over the past 3 years. With the match of 2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation means US$162,000 to the Polio Eradication Program. These funds enabled the vaccination of 270,000 children over the past 3 years.
  • To reach the goal of a polio-free world, increased funding will be required from National Governments, Rotary and our GPEI partners, and philanthropic donors.  If we are able to declare the world polio-free by the end 2021, additional funding of more than $US2.5 billion will still be required.