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Rotary spearheaded the campaign at a time when there were over 1,000 polio cases a day in 125 countries, paralysing and even killing children.
Today, the number of cases is down by 99.9%.
Over the last 30 years, Rotary has donated US$2 billion to the eradication effort and has protected over 2.5 billion children from the disease through vaccination programmes.
Inspired in part by Rotary’s volunteer commitment and fundraising success, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched in 1988.
This remarkable partnership which includes Rotary, World Health Organization, UNICEF, the US Center for Disease Control & Prevention and, more recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Despite there only being a handful of cases left in the world, continued campaigning, health worker training and vaccination programmes are essential to stop the disease returning and ensuring the world is certified polio-free.
Rotary members continue to be key players in many aspects of the polio programme including on the ground in a number of countries as well as fundraising and advocacy.
Failure to eradicate polio could result in as many as 200,000 new cases worldwide every year within a decade.
Rotary members in Great Britain and Ireland have been huge supporters of End Polio Now and you can be part of making history.
Charities’ chief calls for the Government to help the volunteer sector
Charities are set to lose over £4 billion over the next three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Karl Wilding, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and who had been due to speak at Rotary’s Volunteer Expo, has told a Government select committee of his frustration that Whitehall does not understand what the charity sector does.
Conference may be cancelled, but a Rotarian’s work is never done!
The coronavirus crisis prompted a number of Rotary Districts to cancel their annual conferences – before the ban on mass public gatherings. Rotarians from District 1100 made the most of their time in Weymouth, despite their yearly gathering being cancelled.