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The Rotary Clubs of Mississauga will be requesting the City of Mississauga to proclaim Friday October 24 and World Polio Day in honour of the Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio from the world. Rotary will also request that the City of Mississauga proclaim October 24 as World Polio Day until polio is eliminated from the world.
A highly infectious disease, polio causes paralysis and is sometimes fatal. As there is no cure, the protection is prevention. For as little as .60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease—for life.
After successful engagement of over 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease to be eradicated in the 21st century.
Rotary has contributed $1.3 billion USD and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries. The Rotary Clubs of Mississauga are just some of the 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries that are able to reach out to national governments worldwide to generate crucial financial and technical support.
For nearly 20 years, the advocacy efforts of Rotary and its partners have helped raised more than $8 billion from donor governments. Rotary Clubs also provide on-the-ground help in polio affected communities. When Rotary began its eradication work in 1985, polio infected more than 350,000 children annually around the world. This number changed in 2013 to 400.
It is so important to generate the funds needed to End Polio Now. To fail is to invite a polio resurgence that would condemn millions of children to lifelong paralysis in the years ahead. The bottom line is this: As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children—wherever they live—remain at risk, and Rotarians continue to work hard and raise funds to eradicate the dreaded disease.
The joint effort, called End Polio Now—Make History Today, comes during a critical phase for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The estimated cost of the initiative’s 2013-18 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan is $5.5 billion. Funding commitments, announced at the Global Vaccine Summit in April, totaled $4 billion. Unless the $1.5 billion funding gap is met, immunization levels in polio-affected countries will decrease. And if polio is allowed to rebound, within a decade, more than 200,000 children worldwide could be paralyzed every year.
Rotary is determined not to let polio make a comeback. The fight to end polio will receive an additional $43.6 million USD boost from Rotary in support of polio immunization activities, surveillance and research to be carried out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which aims to end the disease worldwide by 2018.
The funding commitment comes on the heels of a World Health Organization declaration calling the international spread of polio a “public health emergency of international concern.” The eradication initiative focuses on stopping polio in the three countries where the virus remains endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Stopping polio in those countries is crucial in order to halt the recent spate of outbreaks in countries where the disease had previously been beaten—such as strife-torn Syria—and where mass immunizations of children via the oral polio vaccine must continue until global eradication is achieved.
The main objective of Rotary International is service, in the community and throughout the world. As volunteers, Rotarians build goodwill and peace, provide humanitarian service, and encourage high ethical standards in all vocations.