‘End Polio Day’ marked worldwide on October 24, 2019
Members of the Rotary Club of Papatoetoe collected $3000 from local businesses and people to fund the Rotary International initiative of ‘Global Polio Eradication Programme.
Raj Pardeep Singh of the Club said that he and his colleagues also used the opportunity to create awareness on Polio among the people in Auckland.
Eradicating the disease
“October 24 is observed as ‘End World Polio Day’, following the Rotary International drive launched in 1985. Since then, thousands of Rotary Clubs throughout the world have been participating in the Programme and have raised more than US$1.9 billion until June this year. We are happy to be active participants in this noble Programme,” he said.
Mr Singh said that since the launch of the initiative 34 years ago, the number of people affected by Polio has dropped by 99.9%.
“That is, from 350,000 cases in 1988 in 125 countries to 33 cases of wild poliovirus in 2018 in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. With polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners must sustain this progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralysing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk,” he said.
Mr Singh said that Rotary has committed to raising US$ 50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of US$150 million,” he said.
About World Polio Day
World Polio Day is an annual opportunity for Rotary members to rally the world around the fight to eradicate the disease forever. This year’s Programme highlighted the heroes of polio eradication, with stories from areas that have recently been affected and areas where polio is still endemic.
Sponsored by UNICEF USA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 2019 Programme featured TV presenter and former Paralympian Ade Adepitan, Supermodel Isabeli Fontana, Science Educator Bill Nye, and actress Archie Panjabi.
The funding comes as Rotary and its partners address the final and most pressing challenges to end poliovirus transmission.
To support polio eradication efforts in endemic countries, Rotary allocated in June 2019, half the funds it announced to Afghanistan (US$16.3 million), Nigeria (US$10.2 million), and Pakistan (US$25.2 million). Additional funding will support efforts to keep vulnerable countries polio-free: Chad (US$102,395), Democratic Republic of the Congo (US$9.5 million), Ethiopia (US$2.6 million), Iraq (US$6 million), Kenya (US$6.3 million), Mali (US$1.2 million), Somalia (US$1.4 million), South Sudan (US$1.2 million), Syria (US$1.7 million) and Yemen (US$2.1 million).
Members of the Rotary Club of Papatoetoe in South Auckland after the Fund Drive of ‘End Polio Day’ on October 24, 2019 (Picture Supplied).