End Polio Now
For over 30 years Rotary International has been working towards the eradication of polio throughout the world. This has not just been by raising funds, but by persuading governments to do their bit, providing volunteers to help with immunisation across the world and working closely with the World Health Organisation and other similar bodies.
Polio is now only endemic in two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan with just 62 cases reported in the first six months of 2020.
A single vaccination costs 10 cents and the aim is to vaccinate all children up to the age of 5 in endemic and at risk countries until the disease is eradicated.
For every dollar raised by Rotarians around the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matches it 2 to 1. Rotary has raised over $1.8 billion to help End Polio Now.
The latest information from Rotary International can be found here.
In August 2019 as part of the Club's fund raising to End Polio Now, Past President and current Secretary Rotarian Bob Chadwick climbed to the top of the highest mountain in Europe, Mt Elbrus in Russia.
At our Charter Night meal in October 2019, Heather Williams, wife of our President Elect, Neil, presented a home made cake to President Ravi Sharma and District Governor Patrick Tyrell to mark RGBI's Purple 4 Polio campaign. A collection on the night raised a tidy sum.
In February 2020 Presidential Nominee Rotarian Merrilyn Chadwick travelled to Australia and climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge along with her husband Rotarian Bob Chadwick.
Her aim was to raise £1,240 to signify £1 for every mile in length of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two remaining endemic countries for Polio.
Merrilyn achieved her goal and when matched 2 to 1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this will allow over 18,500 children to be immunised against Polio.
Tuesday 25th August 2020
Today, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Africa region, has officially been certified free from wild poliovirus, signifying a major milestone in the battle to eradicate the disease worldwide.
This certification has come four years after Nigeria, the last polio-endemic country in Africa, recorded its final case of wild polio and is an incredible public health achievement for Rotary members, the African region, and Rotary’s partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
This progress is the result of a decades-long effort across the 47 countries which make up the WHO’s African region and now means that five of the six WHO regions, which represent 90% of the world’s population, will be free of polio
Efforts to get to this momentous stage have involved millions of health workers traveling by foot, boat, bike and bus to reach children, innovative strategies to vaccinate those living among conflict and insecurity, and a huge disease surveillance network to test cases of paralysis and check sewage for the virus.
In 1996, Rotary and our partners joined with Nelson Mandela to jumpstart Africa’s commitment to polio eradication. Since then, 9 billion doses of oral polio vaccine have been provided, averting an estimated 1.8 million cases of wild poliovirus on the continent.
Rotary members have played an invaluable role in the effort to rid the African region of wild polio.
By raising funds for polio eradication, advocating with world governments and national and local leaders, and raising awareness, Rotarians have contributed nearly US $890 million to conquer polio in the region.
Despite this incredible public health milestone, the job to fully rid the world of polio goes on, as the virus continues to circulate in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Vaccination programmes must continue to reach every last child and strengthen routine immunisation to keep immunity levels high, so the virus does not return to Africa.
Rotary members across Great Britain and Ireland remain committed to making the final, challenging steps towards a polio free world a reality.
Events will be taking place across the world on 24th October, to mark annual World Polio Day.