Friday, October 15, 2010

End Polio Now

The Ogunquit Rotary Club, in conjunction with Rotary International, has kicked off a new campaign dedicated to eradicating polio once and for all. Ogunquit’s campaign is entitled, “Kiss Polio Goodbye.” At various locations and events in Ogunquit, individuals can donate a dollar or more and receive a packet of candy kisses in exchange.
The Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation has awarded Rotary International a challenge grant of $350 million to be matched by $200 million from Rotary International to mark another milestone in Rotary’s 20-year legacy of polio eradication.
With nearly 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas, Rotary reaches out to national governments worldwide to generate crucial financial and technical support for polio eradication. Since 1985, the advocacy efforts of Rotary and its partners have helped raise more than $3 billion in vital funding from donor governments.
Rotary clubs also provide “sweat equity” on the ground in polio-affected communities, which helps ensure that leaders at all levels remain focused on the eradication goal. Over the years, Rotary club members have volunteered their time and personal resources to reach more than two billion children in 122 countries with the oral polio vaccine.
Thanks to Rotary and its partners, the number of polio cases has been slashed by more than 99 percent, preventing five million instances of childhood paralysis and 250,000 deaths. When Rotary began its eradication work, polio infected more than 350,000 children annually. By 2008, fewer than 2,000 cases were reported worldwide.
But the polio cases represented by that final 1 percent will be the most difficult and expensive to prevent for a variety of reasons, including geographical isolation, worker fatigue, armed conflict and cultural barriers. That’s why it’s so important to generate the funds needed to finish the job. To ease up now would be to invite a polio resurgence that would condemn millions of children to lifelong paralysis in the years ahead.
The Ogunquit Rotary Club is picking up on the challenge to move that final inch and End Polio Now by kicking off it’s “Kiss Polio Goodbye” campaign and celebrating World Polio Week October 24-31.
The bottom line is this: As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children – wherever they live – remain at risk. Visit for more information.
Photo caption: Look for Ogunquit Rotary’s “Kiss Polio Goodbye” collection boxes in establishments throughout Ogunquit. (Courtesy photo)