Update on Polio and World Immunization Week
Each year Rotarians decide to focus on an area they can help contribute to the world and its needs. The idea of fighting polio began with a club in Manila in The Philippines many years ago. When a club has a cause approved, the Rotary Foundation will provide grants to the local club.
Most recently, Rotary of South Walton had its grant approved by the foundation to financially support the Boys and Girls Club in South Walton. That presentation was made to Taylor Goode by Past President and inaugural club member Bea Reynolds.
In other news, Rotary of South Walton shares another tremendous success seen by Rotary the world over. Polio, a crippling affliction has been eliminated for 99.9% of the world’s population. In order to maintain this and to eventually eradicate polio, every newborn child has to be vaccinated. It is a challenge that will continue for years to come.
As reported by Rotary, at endpolio.org, “the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined Rotary in its commitment to ending polio.”
It goes on to share that “since 2013, the Gates Foundation has matched every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication 2-to-1, up to $35 million per year. Rotary, with matching funds from the Gates Foundation, has contributed more than $1.6 billion to end polio.”
“Since we started the fight against polio, we’ve reduced the number of polio cases by 99.9 percent and reached more than 2.5 billion children with the vaccine. There are fewer polio cases today than ever before, but we will not stop until we reach zero. If polio is not eradicated, hundreds of thousands of children could be paralyzed. Global health care costs would rise dramatically, and many children’s quality of life would be drastically diminished.”
World Immunization Week
With decades of experience fighting polio, Rotary plays a key role in informing people about the power and effectiveness of vaccines. As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, Rotary members are using their experience in fighting polio to help communities with their vaccination education and organization efforts. And today, wild poliovirus remains endemic in only two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. But to eradicate it there and to prevent a resurgence in other parts of the world, we must continue to build trust in vaccines and raise funds for polio eradication, including vaccine delivery.
Plan to visit a club meeting and experience the fellowship, networking and hear about the work going on today in the South Walton community and around the world! In person meetings, with masks and social distancing are currently being held in the conference room at the back of the South Walton Branch Library on Greenway Trail. That meeting is the first and third Thursdays of each month at 8am. Or you might want to visit virtually. To get the link and any other information, please email Membership Chairman Maurice Stouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or call President Brenda Whitwell at 228.697.0333.
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