During the month of October, Rotarians focus on our global efforts to eradicate the terrifying disease of polio. In fact, today is World Polio Day, and, not coincidentally, the birthday of polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk's birthday.

Salk's vaccine, improved upon by Albert Sabin's oral vaccine, administered by dedicated public health professionals and driven first by Rotarians around the world and now Rotarians working in concert with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, have eradicated this dread disease from all but two countries in the world.

 

Rotary is an international community that brings together leaders who step up to take on the world’s toughest challenges, locally and globally. The eradication of polio is one of our longest standing and most significant efforts. Along with our partners, we have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. We have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide and we won't stop until we end the disease for good.

 

Today, there are just a handful of polio cases worldwide, but - every case results in a crippled child, and every case means the polio virus has an opportunity to be passed on to maim and even kill others.

 

Eradicating polio is Rotary’s top philanthropic priority. And, thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, your contribution will be tripled, getting us even closer to a polio-free world.

 

Rotarians know we are "this close" to eradicating polio forever, and today vow to continue donating money, time and effort to achieve success.

 

So - how do we donate to this worthwhile cause?

 

Donating to the Polio Plus fund is actually quite easy. You may write a check to the Club and designate it for the Polio Plus Fund, giving it to the Club Treasurer. Or, you may make a one-time donation or arrange for an automatic deduction each month from your bank or checking account to The Rotary Foundation Polio Plus fund at https://my.rotary.org/en/donate, or https://www.endpolio.org/donate. Your voluntary donation to the Polio Plus fund counts towards your next Paul Harris recognition. Check with Foundation Chair Pete Leenhouts or Club Treasurer Jennifer Blais should you have questions.

 

Since 1988, Rotarians have administered the oral polio vaccine to more than 2.5 billion children. In 2017, more than 430 million children were vaccinated in 39 countries using almost two billion doses of oral polio vaccine. In 1988, 10% of the world’s children lived in polio-free countries; in 2016, over 95% are living in polio-free countries. And, the number of polio cases "in the wild" has declined by more than 99.9% from over 350,000 in 1985 to 22 in 2017, and 19 so far this year.

 

It costs an average of US$3.00 to fully protect a child against polio, including the expense of the vaccine and activities required to deliver the vaccine such as transportation costs, vaccinator stipends, vaccine carriers, chalk to mark houses after each visit, and dye to paint children’s fingers purple to indicate they have been vaccinated.  A child must receive multiple doses of polio vaccine to be fully protected and therefore must be reached multiple times.

 

Every donation helps Rotary obtain the vaccines, transport and materials needed in the fight against polio, and moves us that much closer to a world in which no child will be crippled by this disease. Please donate today!

 

#endpolio   

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