Our August/September magazine carried the headline “Poliovirus in the UK” with a long feature article on how much of a shock this was the world over.
Shortly after a case of paralytic polio in an unvaccinated individual caused by vaccine derived virus was detected in Rockland County, New York, United States.
These two incidences in countries where polio was thought to be a “thing of the past” have really helped to raise public awareness again.
We all know any form of poliovirus anywhere is a threat to children everywhere. We have worked so hard for so long to try and eradicate this dreadful disease which is fully preventable.
Today nearly all the world’s people live in polio-free countries and some 20 million people are walking who would have been paralysed had it not been for the efforts of Rotary in collaboration with our partners.
The end is in sight, but crossing the finish line is the hardest especially given that the polio eradication programme works in the world’s most challenging areas.
Please strongly consider your role as a Rotarian in helping us achieve our global goal.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, continuing armed conflict in Yemen, Ukraine and countries of central Africa, and now the floods in Pakistan have disrupted health systems, including essential immunisation activities.
The coming five years may provide the last opportunity to eradicate polio.
So what can we in Rotary GB&I actually do to help?
- We can personally and collectively advocate for the safety and necessity of vaccinations.
- We can help raise awareness and fundraise in our communities so we can keep running the marathon to the very end – World Polio Day on October 24th is geared towards helping with this.
- We can all personally sign up to the PolioPlus Society – just $100 per year per Rotarian will make a huge contribution towards meeting our Gates Foundation match commitment of $50 million globally.
The World Polio Day toolkit is now available for download here. Please strongly consider your role as a Rotarian in helping us achieve our global goal and get across the finish line.