Posted on Nov 29, 2022
The 22 polio cases reported in the world so far this year in only two remaining countries signals that the end of the lifetime debilitating and sometimes fatal disease is approaching. That is a huge global achievement over the past 36 years. When Rotary International launched the campaign to rid the world of polio in 1986 in The Philippines there were 300,000 or more cases in 120 countries. Since then health authorities, foundations and governments have joined Rotary in this massive effort to rid the world of polio with medical and scientific knowledge, billions of dollars and millions of paid and volunteer workers such as Rotarians.
Part of that effort now, estimated to require another US$5 billion, is not only to make the two remaining countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, polio free, but ensure it does not return. Ensuring children under 5 years receive the vaccine in remote communities is still a big challenge, but so is the process of validating that results being reported are accurate and precautions are taken. Ridding the world is within reach after decades of effort, but it is still a complex and expensive challenge which Rotarians are encouraged to support.
Past District 5040 Governor and Ladner Rotarian Chris Offer, who is a member of The Rotary Foundation Canada Board and is Chair of the international Rotary Peace Scholarships program, has served as a Rotary International representative on teams which validate results reported by regions and countries about their polio erradication status to ensure there is no backsliding on this massive global effort. Chris encourages donations to The Rotary Foundation to end polio and to the annual giving program which returns funds to clubs in our District when they apply for project grants.