For 20 years, Rotary clubs have remained determined to do whatever is necessary to achieve a world free of the crippling disease polio. Recognizing this commitment – as well as Rotary’s important role as a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the United Nations and the World Health Assembly have partnered with Rotary to completely eradicate polio by the end of 2012.
Rotary’s chief responsibilities in the initiative are fundraising and advocacy, a role of increasing importance as the end game draws near. Sixty-one Rotary clubs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex and New London counties have embraced this effort by using Thunderclap, a Social Media tool which enables supporters to sign up to share a single message simultaneously across all supporting accounts on World Polio Day, October 24, 2012 to raise awareness of the fight to end this crippling disease. In addition, these clubs have provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries around the world. Connecticut State Governor, Dannel Malloy will be issuing a proclamation on October 24, 2012, in support of End Polio Day.
“When Rotary first started the fight against polio in 1985, the disease affected 350,000 people every year in 125 countries. Since then, polio has been reduced by 99%. We are “This Close” to ending polio,” says Brian Amey, Governor, Rotary District 7980.
Rotary, which already has contributed $1.2 billion to stop this crippling childhood disease, announced its new funding commitment in New York City on Sept. 27 during a special side-event on polio eradication convened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly. Earlier this year, Rotary raised $228 million in new money for polio eradication in response to a $355 million challenge grant from the Gates Foundation, which promptly contributed an additional $50 million in recognition of Rotary’s commitment.
Polio cases have plummeted by more than 99 percent since 1988, when the disease infected about 350,000 children a year. Fewer than 700 new cases were reported in 2011. Rotary and its partners have reached more than 2.5 billion children with the oral polio vaccine, preventing more than five million cases of paralysis and hundreds of thousands of pediatric deaths.
To learn how you can participate in this historic opportunity to end polio once and for all, please visit rotary.org/endpolio.
The 61 clubs in twelve areas of District 7980 are part of a much larger organization-Rotary International (www.rotary.org). Rotary International is made up of 34,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas with over 1.2 million members. The organization works to help the world’s needy people and to further world peace and understanding as evidenced by its unique role as a founding member of the United Nations, retaining a permanent seat on the General Council. The Rotary International Foundation invests each year in humanitarian and educational projects throughout the world. The area clubs support many of these programs such as the Polio Eradication program, the Haitian Health Foundation and Clean Water Projects in South India and Ghana.