Dr. Bill Green recently provided the Carolina Forest Sunrise Rotary Club with some of the latest statistics about Polio – Bill Gates has told us we are this close – we are at 99% success! Before the polio vaccine, there were 350,000 new cases of the awful illness each year in175 countries.
Salk vaccine began being used in 1954 and Polio was abolished in the USA in 1979. Rotary Club’s involvement began in 1985, in cooperation with UNICEF, WHO and CDC, 25 years later $8 billion total spent, 2.5 billion immunization. In June 2009 Gates Foundation issued a challenge grant of $355 million to Rotary International: if Rotary raised $200 million in 3 years!
3 years later, Rotarians around the world have raised over $215,754,500. Gates added $50million as our bonus for a good job. 2 years ago, India had the world’s highest
infection rate. This year India was declared free of Polio for 12 months! Polio’s last victim in India was an 18 month-old girl in West Bengal. Reinfection has occurred this year in Angola, Chad and Congo. This has been controlled in Congo and Angola $60 provides 100 immunizations.
5 million children have been saved from disease,Yet this progress is threatened by a funding shortfall of almost $1 billion for 2012-2013 . The world’s health ministers, meeting this May, declared polio an “emergency for global public health”.
We presently have the lowest infection rate in history in the world. We have never had a never had a higher world immunization rate. Polio can and must be eradicated everywhere.It will be only the second time a disease has been eliminated; the first was Small Pox. There are truly only political and social barriers left. 50% of adults who contract Polio die. The president of Nigeria has pledged $30 million per year for eradication.
Thank you for all you do as Rotarians to ensure our goal of Polio eradication is met.