Polio Eradication

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District PolioPlus Committee


Eradication of polio from Planet Earth is Rotary International's # 1 priority. Since 1985, RI has led the private sector, in partnership thru GPEI with WHO, CDC and UNICEF, to make polio the second disease to be eradicated by man. (Smallpox was the first eradicated.) GPEI hopes to accomplish this by December 2014. However, even after the world has been declared polio free, children, worldwide, will need to be immunized for an additional three years to assure total eradication of the polio virus.

In 2007 & 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation challenged RI to raise $200,000,000 by June 2012, for a match of $355,000,000.  By Jan. 2012, RI, thru its 1.2 million members, raised $225,000,000 and the Gates Foundation added $50,000,000 as a reward, thus totaling $630,000,000.


Our 5450 District Governor, guided by RI's Strategic Plan, sets the District PolioPlus Committee's goals.  For 2012-2013, the committee has been asked to help the 68 District 5450 clubs raise $50,000 for polio eradication through its members and community awareness events, which also helps showcase the service aspect of Rotary's mission. 


In the past 6 years, the District 5450 PolioPlus Committee has helped clubs raise a total of $700,000, by providing information and speakers on polio, creating a flyer for distribution, encouraging club fundraisers and community awareness programs and marketing the District PolioPlus website. On Feb. 23rd, 2011, the Denver City and County Building and Republic Plaza building were lit up with the RI logo, END POLIO NOW, while Rotarians were encouraged to "Kick Polio" by dining at local participating restaurants.  And large "End Polio" signs were posted at several sites inside the DIA terminal. Feb. 23, 2013, to celebrate RI’s 108th birthday, Rotarians were asked to text (or donate) $5 to PolioPlus. 


Polio remains a crippling and potentially fatal disease most often striking children under the age of 5. In 1985, 1000 children/day, meaning 350,000/year, were crippled by polio. For the year 2012, only 222 cases were confirmed in the world. There is no cure for polio; prevention (immunization) is the only protection.  We are 99% "this close", toward finally eradicating polio from the earth!


For more information on polio and Rotary's involvement, go to: our District PolioPlus website, www.endpolio.com; for current polio data to GPEI’s www.polioeradication.org; for RI polio videos and information, www.rotary.org/polio. Have questions or want to join the District PolioPlus Committee, contact Peg Johnston, peg.johnston@yahoo.com.