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Rotary members unite at home and across the globe to put our experience and knowledge to work tackling our most pressing challenges. We focus our efforts in six areas: promoting peace, preventing diseases, providing access to clean water and sanitation, enhancing maternal and child health, improving basic education and literacy, and helping communities develop.
We are especially dedicated to ending polio in our lifetimes. Rotary members have persevered in this fight since 1979 and have now helped eradicate polio in all but three countries worldwide.
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“We need to continue immunizing until the last country is certified polio-free, and thereafter.”
Optimism about eradicating the disease for good, tempered by caution…
Africa goes one year without a new case
Rotary is working to eliminate polio village by village, country by country, and continent by continent. As recently as 1988, polio was paralyzing nearly 1,000 children every day around the world. Since then, Rotary members have led the way in raising funds, advocating for government support, building awareness, and mobilizing volunteers on the ground for massive immunization campaigns.
The fruit of these efforts is evident in the numbers: In the first half of 2015, there were fewer than 40 new polio cases worldwide.
The latest victory comes in Africa, where the last reported case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus occurred in August 2014. If there are no new cases, the World Health Organization can certify Africa as polio-free in 2017.
Despite such impressive gains, the job is not yet finished around the world. Polio is stubbornly hanging on in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“We cannot wind down our efforts now. We need to continue immunizing until the last country is certified polio-free, and thereafter,” says Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria Polio Plus Committee. “As long as the virus remains anywhere in the world, it is only a plane ride away.”