Last month we talked about our remarkable progress towards completing the # 1 goal of our Rotary Foundation – THE ERADICATION OF POLIO WORLDWIDE.
Today I am pleased to announce that year to date we have only 123 cases of polio vs 333 cases YTD 2011. Of these – only 118 cases in 3 endemic countries (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan) & only 5 cases in 1 non-endemic country (Chad).
However as you are aware, the 3 remaining endemic countries continue to challenge Rotary and our worldwide healthcare partners.
NIGERIA – 72 cases year to date vs 25 cases YTD 2011. Insecurity remains a challenge in the northern states and our concern of cross border transmission of the virus into neighboring Niger is a high priority. Security concerns have delayed our scheduled immunization however IPD’s (Immunization Plus Days) are now scheduled for Sept. 23-26 along with targeted immunizations to reach Nomadic populations in 40 local government areas in 10 northern states. Niger will be included in a multi-country campaign scheduled for Oct and Nov and will likely include other nations in West Africa.
PAKISTAN – 29 cases year to date vs 72 cases YTD 2011. Progress has been evident this year even with the continued political turmoil in the northern part of the country.
Immunizations continue in conjunction with those scheduled in Afghanistan. Our primary concern in Pakistan continues to be the continuing presence of positive environmental samples collected in late July in Peshawar, Sindh, and Punjab.
AFGHANISTAN – 17 cases year to date vs 13 cases YTD 2011. NID’s (National Immunization Days) are scheduled for Sept 16-18 in conjunction with Pakistan. It is important to note that Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to work together on coordinating polio immunizations even through neither country is able to cooperate in other ways.
ANGOLA-CHAD-DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo)-West Africa – continue to be on an active immunization schedule to prevent cross border transmission of the polio virus from Nigeria. We must eradicate polio in Nigeria in order to eradicate polio from the African continent.
YES, POLIO CASES WORLDWIDE CONTINUE TO DECREASE BECAUSE OF OUR EFFORTS AND THOSE OF OUR WORLDWIDE PARTNERS (ROTARY-UNICEF- CDC- GATES FOUNDATION – UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION – PROFIT AND NON PROFIT CORPORATIONS AROUND THE WORLD- COUNTRIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD – all continue to financially support our worldwide efforts to eradicate polio.
We Rotarian’s must also continue to financially support this life saving program until we achieve total eradication of polio. Last June 30th we completed our Gates Challenge with 5130 clubs raising $ 540,490 from Dec. 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012. I know this year many clubs have again set fundraising goals for polio eradication – however some have not and I would strongly encourage each of you to continue to encourage your members to financially support this life-saving program.
I KNOW THAT SOON – NO PARENT OR CHILD WILL EVER AGAIN HAVE TO FEAR A MORNING THAT A CHILD MIGHT WAKE UP – PARALYZED WITH LITTLE OR NO HOPE FOR SURVIVAL- THANKS TO ROTARY AND TO OUR 1.2+ MILLION ROTARIANS AROUND THE WORLD.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Yours in Rotary Service
Larry D. Myers, P.D.G. 5130 Polio Eradication Chair