Local Rotary Club fights to end polio worldwide

By Special to the DCI


In honor of World Polio Day, which is widely recognized on Oct. 24, the Rotary Club of the North Fork Valley will give an update on Rotary's 27-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease at the weekly lunch meeting at noon Thursday, Oct. 27, at Paonia Town Hall.

World Polio Day follows a succession of significant developments that have made 2016 one of the most important years in the history of the polio eradication initiative. To date only 27 cases of the wild polio virus have been reported in the remaining three countries where the polio is endemic -- Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, as long as the polio virus exists, other countries remain at risk for imported cases.

Since 1985, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries.

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. After an international investment of more than $9 billion, and the successful engagement of more than 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 Organization, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers 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.

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit Rotary.org or paoniarotary.org.