End Polio Now!

Polio is All But Eradicated

As published in The Platte County Citizen, October 17, 2018, p. 2
by Don Breckon


The World’s last case of Polio is near, and in fact may already have happened! Small Pox is the only other disease to have been officially eradicated. Rotary International has been the primary leader in the campaign to eradicate Polio. Rotarian's have given more than a billion dollars since the 1950’s, and millions of volunteer hours to immunize children and monitor outbreaks, as well as to support ongoing research. Rotary International is in the Polio Hall of Fame, as is Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, who developed polio vaccines named after them.

In 2017, 430 million children in 39 countries were immunized. In 30 years, the world has gone from Polio being widespread in 125 countries to two, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan is war-torn and presents special challenges, but Pakistan has made eradication of Polio a priority. As of October 1, 2018 Afghanistan has had 15 new cases this year, while Pakistan has had only four. Experts project that more than 17 million people would have been paralyzed from this dreadful disease, were it not for the heroic efforts of Rotary and its allied organizations.

No, we did not do it alone, nor could we have, but have enlisted the assistance of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Communicable Disease Center, and many, many health agencies in nations from around the world.The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to match those contributed by Rotarians.

Parkville Rotary Club President Dalyn Novak said “We at Parkville Rotary along with other Northland Rotarians have been involved in the fight to end Polio since the 1950’s, and are excited to see the demise of this dreadful disease so near.”

Time Magazine reported in a recent issue: “The road to zero has been a long one, and a lot of the credit has rightly gone to Rotary International”. The fight will go on for a few years to continue surveillance, before it is certified as eradicated but Rotary has a plan for keeping the world polio-free forever.

October 24 is World Polio Day! It is a good day to celebrate, and be thankful for the tremendous strides made in public health in general and especially in Polio eradication.

Rotarians are always looking for business and professional leaders of good reputation who wish to join them in “Service Above Self”. For more information on Polio eradication or in finding a club near you, go to rotaryinternational.org. For more information on the Parkville Club go to parkvillerotary.org.



Donate Here: https://www.endpolio.org/donate