In honour of World Polio Day, which is widely recognised on 24 October, the ROTARY CLUB of MALENY is holding an information evening and fundraiser as part of Rotary’s 27-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease polio.
For many years the Maleny Club has made it a priority to fully support Rotary’s commitment to the children of the world to consign this dreaded disease to history. The funding will provide critical support to polio eradication activities in parts of Africa and South Asia.
Since 1985, Rotary has contributed more than $1 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 deaths. The disease remains endemic in three countries — Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan — although all other countries remain at risk from imported cases. Worldwide, fewer than 650 polio cases have been confirmed for 2011, less than half the 1,352 infections reported in 2010. Overall, the annual number of polio cases has plummeted by more than 99% since the initiative was launched, when polio infected about 350,000 children a year.
As long as polio remains anywhere, children everywhere remain at risk, comments a Club spokesman, to raise awareness and funds for the global push to end polio, Rotary clubs worldwide are conducting activities surrounding World Polio Day.
A highly infectious disease, polio causes paralysis and is sometimes fatal. As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life. After an international investment of more than US$8 billion, and the successful engagement of over 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organisation, Rotary International, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It includes the support of governments and other private sector donors including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Google. “Rotary continues to be the heart-and-soul of polio eradication,” Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates wrote in his annual letter.
Rotary is an organisation of business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. It is comprised of 1.2 million members working in more than 34,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographic regions.