On August 25th, it was announced that the World Health Organization (WHO) African region is officially certified free of wild poliovirus. This certification comes 4 years after Nigeria—the last polio-endemic country in Africa—recorded its final case of wild polio. This milestone is an incredible public health achievement for Rotary members, the African region, millions of health workers, and Rotary’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, and a huge step forward on the road to global polio eradication.
Rotary members have played an invaluable role in the effort to rid the African region of wild polio. Rotary is very proud of all the hard work it has done to eliminate the wild poliovirus in nearly every country in the world. Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced on the 22nd of January that their longterm fundraising partnership, which generates up to $150 million annually for polio eradication, will continue. Under the agreement, Rotary is committed to raising $50 million a year over the next 3 years, and each dollar will be matched with an additional $2 by the Gates Foundation (www.rotary.org/en/rotary-and-gates-foundation-extend-funding-match-polio-eradication).
By raising funds for polio eradication, advocating with world governments and national and local leaders, holding events and fundraisers for World Polio Day, and raising awareness, Rotarians around the world have made an indelible impact in the fight to eradicate polio.
- There are Rotary clubs in all 47 countries in the African region, and the region is home to almost 32,000 Rotary members in nearly 1,400 Rotary clubs.
- Rotary and its members have contributed nearly US $890 million to eliminate polio in the African region.
- On October 24, which is World Polio Day, Rotarians in 50 clubs in Rotary District 6960, which covers eight counties and reaches from Palmetto to Marco Island and inland to Arcadia and Clewiston, will participate in events to raise awareness and funds for polio eradication. Rotary International President Holger Knaack stated Rotary made a promise to the children of the world to end polio and we are going to deliver on that promise.
To overcome the remaining hurdles to eradication, Rotarians remain committed to polio eradication. They will continue raising $50 million a year so Rotary can keep children protected in Africa and eliminate the wild poliovirus in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With continued support from Rotary, donors, country governments and GPEI partners, Rotary is confident that they can beat polio for good.
Visit endpolio.org to learn more about Rotary and the fight to eradicate polio.
To learn more about how District 6960 Rotarians participate in polio-eradication efforts, visit the website at rotarydistrict6960.org or check the Facebook page at facebook.com/RotaryInternationalDistrict6960/