This week marks World Polio Day - a great time to mark our progress and commitment to eradicating polio. On World Polio Day, thousands of Rotary clubs around the world will hold events and fundraisers to recognize our progress in the global fight to end polio. District 6900 is holding a special event tomorrow at the CDC. Rotary International will stream an update on Facebook in multiple time zones and languages around the world - highlighting the heroes of polio eradication, with stories from polio-endemic and recently impacted areas. Following its premiere, the program video will be available indefinitely on Rotary International and our website: endpol.io/wpd.
Rotary has contributed more than $1.9 billion to ending polio since 1985, including more than $180,000 from the Rotary Club of Dunwoody.
When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative more than three decades ago, polio paralyzed 1,000 children every day. We’ve made great progress against the disease since then. Polio cases have dropped by 99.9 percent, from 350,000 cases in 1988 in 125 countries to 33 cases of wild poliovirus in 2018 in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. And we remain committed to the end.
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 paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. 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 $150 million.