POLIO MUST GO!
Poliomyelitis (polio), a viral disease that can cause paralysis and possibly death, was eradicated from the United States in 1979. Unfortunately, it still exists in other parts of the world. Although it can strike at any age, it mainly affects children under the age of five.
In 1988, 350,000 cases of polio were reported worldwide. In 2013, it was 416 cases. This accomplishment is due in large part to the efforts of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which was founded in 1988. This effort was spearheaded by Rotary International, the World health Organization, UNICEF, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USA. Along with partners such as foreign governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GPEI has raised and donated $10 billion dollars and immunized 2.5 billion children to wipe polio from the face of the earth.
Although there has been a 99% reduction of polio in the world, the work is not finished. Today, three countries exist that still experience transmission of the wild poliovirus: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. The polio cases represented by the remaining one percent are the most difficult to prevent. This is due to factors such as geographical isolation, poor public infrastructure, armed conflict, and cultural barriers. Due to the mobility of the modern world, all countries remain at risk until polio is completely eradicated.
The 2013-2018 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan estimates that it will take an additional $5.5 billion to end polio worldwide. Funding commitments are at $4 billion dollars which leaves a gap of $1.5 billion assuming all commitments are met. To close the gap, from 2013-2018, every $1 Rotary commits to Who and UNICEF in direct support for polio immunizations will be matched 2 to 1 (up to $35 million per year) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Therefore, a $25 donation by Rotary for polio eradication will have $50 added by the foundation for a total of $75. If you are interested in this cause and want more information, e.mail Patsy Orr at email@example.com.