Following a major global health milestone last month, The Rotary Club of Johnson City seeks to raise community awareness in the global fight to eradicate polio by recognizing World Polio Day on October 24, 2015.
Now an important time in the fight to eradicate polio, which would be only the second human disease to be eradicated, after smallpox. In September, the World Health Organization declared Africa’s last polio-endemic country, Nigeria, polio-free, leaving only two countries which have never stopped the virus: Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 1988, when Rotary and its partners committed to eradicating the disease, polio paralyzed more than 350,000 children per year in 125 countries – or, more than 1,000 per day. Since that time, the number of polio cases has been reduced by 99.9%, with less than 50 cases in two countries to date in 2015.
On 23 October, Rotary and UNICEF will host an event in New York City which will stream live online , providing an update on the world’s progress against polio, with notable speakers including journalists, health experts, celebrities, polio survivors and more. Viewers can tune in live at 6:30 PM EDT, or watch a recording of the event any time after it streams.
Rotary has contributed more than US$1.4 billion to ending polio, including The Rotary Club of Johnson City’s contributions of over $500,000 to The Rotary Foundation. Funds contributed to Rotary are tripled thanks to a 2:1 match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Rotary is joined in the fight to end polio by its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership that also includes the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Rotary Club of Johnson City has served our community since 1916. Ongoing projects are the Boundless Playground at Rotary Park and this year we will work with the Children’s Advocacy Center on Rotary to the Rescue Packs for children displaced by drug use. We hold a community Polio Plus event in the spring each year to raise funds in the efforts to eradicate polio. Visit our website at jcrotary.com to learn more.