WORLD POLIO DAY - October 24
Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 30 years, and we’ve made incredible progress in the fight to rid the world of it forever. As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we've helped to reduce polio cases by more than 99.9 percent. It’s crucial to eliminate polio from the last three countries where it remains endemic and to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year. Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) are approaching a significant milestone: the eradication of type 3 wild poliovirus. The last case of polio caused by the type 3 virus was reported in Yobe, Nigeria, on 10 November 2012. "We may have eradicated a second of three; that's a major milestone," said Dr. Stephen Cochi, a senior adviser at the Center for Global Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking to the BBC.
Rotary has played an important role in bringing type 3 polio close to extinction. PolioPlus grants have provided key funding for surveillance, operational support, social mobilization, and technical assistance in the fight to eradicate polio, including type 3. And Rotary members have worked to change the minds of community leaders and parents who once refused to let children be immunized, including in the three remaining polio-endemic countries, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Rotary has been partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate polio.