Since 1985, eradicating polio has been Rotary’s top priority. Largely through the efforts of Rotarians and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the campaign is “this close” to its goal. Polio cases worldwide decreased by more than 40% during the first eight months of 2011, compared with the same period in 2010. And India – one of the four countries where the virus remains endemic (the others are Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan) – reported only one case during that time.
As of September 2011, Rotarians have raised US$190 million toward Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge to match US$355 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
It is World Polio Day on 24th October.
The Global Poverty Project is planning an End of Polio Concert on 28th October 2011 to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia. Rotarians have teamed up with the group to lobby leaders to put polio eradication on the agenda. Hugh Evans, cofounder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, will be a speaker at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand.
Though the polio eradication campaign has made great progress, challenges remain. Seeing the job through to the finish will require redoubled effort and commitment. For more information visit www.ribi.org