By ROS PARKER
24 October, marks World Polio Day and the two Rotary Clubs in Makhanda – Rotary Club of Grahamstown and Rotary Club of Grahamstown Sunset have planned a special brunch on Sunday 27 October, 10.30am at the Wyvern, Kingswood College, to raise awareness and funds.
Since the late 1980s, Rotary worldwide has gone out of its way to help towards the eradication of polio throughout the world. Rotarians have joined with the World Health Organization to visit remote parts of the world and help with the inoculation of thousands of children. The battle is finally being won.
We are thrilled to announce that at last Africa seems to be polio free – Nigeria was the last country in Africa to record two cases of polio at the end of 2017 but since then there have been no recorded cases – thanks to Rotary and the innoculation programme. Unfortunately two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have not yet eradicated the disease. Rotarians have been denied access to Afghanistan but are working with Pakistan to help the health workers.
The Rotary Club of Grahamstown and Rotary Club of Grahamstown Sunset are taking action to raise awareness, funds, and support to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.
When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative more than three decades ago, polio paralysed 1 000 children every day. We’ve made great progress against the disease since then. Polio cases have dropped by 99.9 percent, from 350 000 cases in 1988 in 125 countries to 33 cases of wild poliovirus in 2018 in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
With polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners must sustain this progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralysing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.
Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million. Rotary has contributed more than $1.9 billion to ending polio since 1985.
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who unite and take action to create lasting change in communities around the globe. For more than 110 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to improve lives through service. From promoting literacy and peace to providing clean water and improving health care, Rotary members are always working to better the world. Visit endpolio.org to learn more about Rotary and the fight to eradicate polio.
Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a paralysing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. Poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in hours. It can strike people of any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio can be prevented by vaccines, but it is not curable. Unlike most diseases, polio can be eradicated.
For more than 30 years, Rotary and our partners have driven the effort to eradicate polio worldwide. Our PolioPlus program was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication by vaccinating children on a massive scale. As a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary focuses on advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and awareness-building.
Rotary members have contributed $1.9 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from this paralysing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $8 billion to the effort.
Rotary in Action
More than 1 million Rotary members have donated their time and money to eradicate polio, and every year, hundreds of member’s work with health workers to vaccinate children in countries affected by polio. Rotary members work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute informational materials for people in areas that are isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. They also mobilize to recruit fellow
volunteers, assist in transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.
Rotary has a growing list of public figures and celebrities who support our fight against polio, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; actresses Kristen Bell and Archie Panjabi; actor and wrestling superstar John Cena; supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; action-movie star Jackie Chan; actor Donald Sutherland; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman; Grammy Award winners A.R. Rahman, Angélique Kidjo, and Ziggy Marley; and peace advocate Queen Noor of Jordan. These ambassadors help Rotary educate the public about the disease and the fight to end polio for good.
Be part of the Rotary Brunch at 10.30am this Sunday. R80 per person.
Bookings and details Roslyn Parker 046 622 4522.