Sunshine Coast Rotary Club - Sechelt recently welcomed Sara Williams, Communications Officer for polio eradication. Sara filled us in on how the Rotary's international funding contributions assist with the ongoing hope and success of this program.
 
Sara Williams works with the WHO’s polio eradication program based in Amman, Jordan as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Her office supports the Eastern Mediterranean region, which covers the broader Middle East, plus Somalia and the two endemic countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The GPEI, created in 1988, is described as a "public-private partnership led by national governments with five partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide" (www.polioeradication.org).
 
"Eradicating polio is no easy feat", Sara said. "In fact, it's a lot harder than many thought it would be, with ongoing challenges around access and reaching every child in Afghanistan and Pakistan in particular, [especially with] vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreaks in a number of countries including Somalia. But we are getting there, and with Rotary's continued support, I'm convinced we will get there."
 
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