Chairman: Ken Palk tel: 01308 423 210
POLIO PLUS – THE WORLDWIDE ERADICATION OF POLIO
An explanation of Polio Plus, which was the name given to the above campaign, needs an understanding of Rotary Foundation. The Foundation is Rotary’s own charity. Unlike most charities it is the only one, funded by Rotarians, for programs and projects identified by Rotarians and adminstered by Rotarians at the project site. Whilst the purpose of the Foundation is to advance the improvement of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty, not all funds provided by individuals, clubs and districts is, as commonly believed, used Internationally. One half of such funds ( district designated funds or DDF’s ) are returned to the District that raised them and can be used as the Clubs decide either at home or internationally.
Rotary Foundation was the vehicle used to launch the Polio Plus fund way back in 1985 with the aim of immunising all the world’s children against polio which at the time was claiming 350,000 victime a year. When it became apparent to the world at large that Rotary’s commitment was so great, the World Health Assembly and other bodies became involved. However it is a fact that Rotary alone has raised over $ 700 million to keep alive the dream of a polio free world.
Since 1985 more than two billion children have received the oral polio vaccine. Astoundingly the annual polio cases of 350,000 have been reduced to 2000 per year and these are mainly in four countries that remain endemic. In 2002 the fund was reactivated to raise a shortfall in the funding needed to tackle this hardcore and Rotary raised a further $88 million and this was matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ( Microsoft ).
Last year the fund was relaunched to rid polio from the few remaining areas. Again Rotary made a commitment of $100 million over a three year period which if achieved would again be matched by the Gates Foundation. At the time of going to press the Gates have made a further grant of $255 million and Rotary has increased it’s undertaking to $200 million which must be achieved by 2012.
Twenty years ago Rotary made the commitment to eradicate polio from the World and it is now nearly polio free. With your help either individually, or through your clubs, polio will be defeated. In this connection your district can direct part or all of it’s DDF to the Polio Plus fund.
Polio is an infectious disease carried by the poliovirus. It causes motor paralysis and atrophy of skeletal muscles, often causing permanent disability and deformity.
The disease has been completely eliminated in the Americas, the Western Pacific and Europe, but the polio virus persists in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. Imported cases from these countries threaten other developing nations.
Access to vaccines and vaccine effectiveness are the biggest problems in fighting the disease.
The money donated to the polio initiative will be used to sponsor immunization days for children, extra vaccinations in high-risk areas, research into new vaccines and more surveillance to detect outbreaks before they spread, Rotary said.