ROTARY AIMS TO ERADICATE POLIO
Our Rotary theme for December is "Disease Prevention Month" and eradicating polio is at the forefront of every Rotary Club's efforts. Rotarians take great pride in being part of an organization that has truly made a difference in combating this deadly disease worldwide for over 30 years. Most people born in the U.S after the 1950s are not familiar with the polio epidemics that crippled or killed over 50,000 people, mostly children, during its course of infection. But after immunization programs were widely implemented, the last reported case in the U.S. was in 1998. The rest of the world was not so fortunate and polio remained rampant in many foreign countries. Beginning in 1985, Rotary International made a long-term commitment to provide funding and volunteers to rid the world of polio. Rotary has partnered with WHO, CDC, UNICEF, and the Gates Foundation to raise a total $1.7 billion to support National Immunization Days where 2.5 billion children around the world have received the polio vaccine since 1988, resulting in a 99.9 percent reduction in polio cases. Most importantly, hundreds of thousands of Rotarian volunteers from local clubs who are known and trusted by their communities have been the "boots on the ground" administering the life-saving vaccine at transit stations, public parks, schools, playgrounds and door-to-door.
Although only 11 cases have surfaced recently in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, global travel increases the odds of the disease spreading outside of these countries. Immunizations of newborn children and those in remote villages must continue, as well as maintaining medical facilities that produce the vaccine and advance research. Rotary is committed to remaining vigilant so that polio can be stamped out entirely.
Each October, World Polio Day is marked by members of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and Sherwood Rotarians are personally joining the fight through Rotary's Polio Plus Society by pledging $100 per year until all countries have been certified polio-free. Sherwood Rotary's goal is to donate a total of $3,000 to the polio campaign. Please support our efforts in this great humanitarian service to the world. For more information, visit endpolio.org or sherwoodrotary.org.