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Rotary’s fight to end polio continues

Dr. Tunji Funsho is the chair of Rotary’s PolioPlus Program in Nigeria, which now has three years of no polio cases. In the near future, the World Health Organization will be declaring Nigeria polio free.

By Dave Andrews/Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood

As Oct. 24, World Polio Day, approaches, I want to thank all of the Rotary Club members around the world, and in particular, to the 25,700 women and men of the 737 Rotary clubs right here in Canada, and to the members of the Rotary Clubs of Oshawa and Oshawa-Parkwood, right here in our city, that kept their promise to all of the children of the world when we decided in 1985 to make Polio eradication our number one priority.

When Rotary and its partners launched the global polio eradication initiative in 1985, polio paralyzed 1,000 children every day. We’ve made great progress against the disease since then. Polio cases have dropped by 99.9 per cent, from 350,000 cases in 1988 in 125 countries to 33 cases of wild poliovirus in 2018 in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And we remain committed to the end.

Since 1985, Rotary has contributed $1.9 (US) billion, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than 2.5 billion children. If polio isn’t stopped now, the disease could stage a comeback, affecting an estimated 200,000 children every year.

To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising $50 million (US) per year in support of global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s commitment two-to-one.

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who unite and take action to create lasting change in communities around the globe. For more than 110 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to improve lives through service.

From promoting literacy and peace to providing clean water and improving health care, Rotary members are always working to better the world.

Please visit endpolio.org to learn more about Rotary and the fight to eradicate polio.

Join us on Oct. 24 at 5:15 pm as we live-stream our World Polio Day Event, worldwide, from the Global Classroom at Durham College at http://www.theglobalclass.org/world-polio-day.html

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