EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With just 11 confirmed polio cases so far in 2017, the world ison the brink of eradicating polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year.
To recognize this historic progress, Rotary clubs worldwide will host events in conjunction with Rotary International's
"Rotary and its partners are closer than ever to eradicating polio," says Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary's International PolioPlus Committee, which leads the organization's polio eradication efforts. "World Polio Day is the ideal opportunity to celebrate our successes, raise public awareness, and talk about what is needed to end this paralyzing disease for good."
Without full funding and political commitment to eradication, the disease could return to countries that are now polio-free and put children everywhere at risk. Rotary is giving $49.5 million in grants to support immunization and surveillance activities led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Some of the funds will support efforts to end polio in the three countries where polio remains endemic: Afghanistan ($9.32 million), Pakistan ($8.94 million), and Nigeria ($7.71 million). Further funding will support efforts to keep six vulnerable countries polio-free: Chad ($2.37 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($4.5 million), Guinea ($961,000), Somalia ($1.62 million), South Sudan ($3.77 million), and Sudan ($2.56 million). An additional $7.74 million will go toward surveillance activities in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean region.
In a show of solidarity and to raise awareness and funds for polio eradication, Rotary clubs around the globe will host nearly 1,900 events for World Polio Day. They include:
"To protect all children from polio, world governments and donors must see through their commitments to fund critical work and support rigorous disease surveillance in both endemic and at-risk polio-free countries," says McGovern. Rotary has committed to raising $150 million over the next three years, which will be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, yielding $450 million for polio eradication activities, including immunization and surveillance.
Rotary started its polio eradication program PolioPlus in 1985, and in 1988 became a partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation later became a partner, too. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 37 cases in 2016. Rotary has contributed a total of more than $1.7 billion including matching funds from the Gates Foundation and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from polio.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit Rotary.org and endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio. Video and still images are available on the Rotary Media Center.
Livestream: Tune in to the World Polio Day livestream on October 24 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern, 2:30 p.m. Pacific, at endpolio.org/worldpolioday.
View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/rotary-gives-495-million-to-help-eradicate-polio-and-challenges-the-world-to-continue-the-fight-to-end-the-disease-300537655.html
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