Monday, October 24, marks World Polio Day, with the date chosen as it is the birth date of Dr Jonas Salk who was the leader of the team who invented the world’s first safe and effective polio vaccine in 1955.
Until the creation of the vaccine, polio was considered to be the most frightening public health problem in the developed world. Now polio is no longer considered to be an issue in most of the world but there are still areas suffering from this disease which have the potential to bring polio back into the lives of future generations of children.
During the 1980s, the poliovirus crippled nearly 1,000 people every day but since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, this number has fallen by 99%. However, the disease remains endemic in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
The goal of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is to ensure that no child will ever know again the crippling effects of polio. Polio can cause lifelong paralysis but can be prevented with a vaccine that costs only 60 cents.
Rotary is working to raise http://00 million in response to the www.55 million challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. All of the resulting $555 million will support crucial immunisation activities in countries where polio still threatens children.
Over the past 26 years, the 1.2 million members of the Rotary have contributed more than http://www. billion and countless volunteer hours to help immunise more than 2 billion children in 122 countries.
Rotary clubs around the world are raising funds to help end polio with much being done in Portugal including Estoi Palace Club raising more than €6,000 during a recent golf day.