I wanted to bring to your attention a major recent development in global public health. In September, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria polio-free. Nigeria was the last country in Africa with endemic poliovirus, leaving now only two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan – where polio has never been stopped. If we can root the virus out of these two last strongholds, polio is poised to be only the second human disease ever eradicated, after smallpox.
Rotary, a humanitarian service organization with nearly 34,000 clubs across the world, including Rotary Clubs of Great Bend, made polio eradication its top priority in 1985. When the initiative started, more than 350,000 people were stricken by polio every year - nearly 1,000 new polio cases every day. Since that time, cases have been reduced by 99.9% with less than 134 cases, globally so far in 2015.
On Oct. 23, Rotary and UNICEF will host an event in New York City which will stream live online and will provide a status update on the global effort to eradicate polio. The update will include appearances from celebrities, health experts, journalists and more.
Your readers can support the fight to protect all children from polio by visiting endpolio.org to donate and learn more. All donations to Rotary’s efforts to end polio will be tripled, under a 2:1 match from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Rotary Club of Great Bend