World Polio Day 2012 is here
World Polio Day 2012 is here
Today marks World Polio Day, a focal point to highlight how everyone can help make the virus a thing of the past and how many successes have been made this year alone.
Locally, clubs are putting on fundraising events and taking part in a massive social media campaign using the following hashtags on Twitter and other platforms:
Everyone is invited to join in and to also visit the website endpolionow.org where a petition can be signed, a new advert can be viewed and donations can be made.
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland President John Minhinick said it is not just today when people can make a difference: “Polio is a determined disease and only with a sustained effort will it be beaten and children can live in a world without fear of crippling pain and death from the virus.
“Seeing tiny children with deformed limbs is heartbreaking, especially when this can be prevented through proper sanitation and the immunisation programme. Cases have dropped by 99-percent since Rotary took the lead and formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with other partners.
“Rotarians not only fundraise, they administer the immunisation to tiny children, protecting them from a lifetime of pain and disability. Next month, over 30 Rotary members from Britain are going to India where they will work with fellow Rotarians in the local area and give the oral vaccine to 170million children.
“Everyone can help. You can contact your local Rotary club and become involved with activities or you can donate to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. I welcome and invite the support of anyone who wants to help bring an end to polio.”
World Polio Day follows a succession of significant developments that have made 2012 one of the most important years in the history of the polio eradication initiative:
• January, Rotary announced it had raised more than US$200 million in new money for polio eradication, called for in a US$355 million challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The total is now US$228 million and growing. In recognition of Rotary’s effort, the Gates Foundation added another US$50 million. Total funding package: US$605+ million.
• February, India was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries following a year of no new cases. Many health experts expected India to be polio’s final stronghold, so a full year of no new cases represents a major milestone. It must continue to test negative for new cases by January 2014 in order to be classed as polio free. Even after that date, immunisations will continue.
• May, the World Health Assembly declared polio eradication to be a “programmatic emergency for global public health,” in recognition of the dichotomy posed by the increased risk of failure due to the funding gap, opposite the significant progress represented by the reduction in cases and polio’s shrinking geographical presence.
• September, in conjunction with a polio side event at the UN General Assembly, Rotary announced its plan to contribute US$75 million over the next three years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) as part of a worldwide effort to close a US$700 million funding gap that threatens to derail the global health effort, even as new polio cases are at an all-time low.
For more information, contact your local Rotary club and find out how you can have a positive impact on the lives of others.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012