Service to others is an integral part of Rotary’s mission, and the service that most defines Rotary and its global mission is the ongoing goal to rid the world of polio. The Rotary Club of Gravesend is fully behind this.
In 1978 Rotary International decided to rid the world of Polio – a disease that was attacking 350,000 children every year. Rotary approached the World Health Organisation with an offer to work together but the WHO declined. So Rotary decided to go it alone and started raising money, buying vaccine and sending volunteers around the world to vaccinate children.
In 1988 Rotary had achieved so much that the WHO decided to join Rotary in its campaign to eliminate the disease and formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to put this partnership into practice. More recently the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given its support by giving $2 for every $1 raised by Rotary clubs. With other money from The Rotary Foundation every $1 raised is increased to $6.
What is being achieved
Alongside partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has achieved a 99.9% reduction in polio cases since spearheading the initiative more than 30 years ago. Since then, Rotary members have contributed $1.9 billion (£1.49 billion) and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from polio.
Today (June 2019), just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rotary is committed to raising $50 million (£39.3 million) per year, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars through a matching agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Including the matching funds, Rotary is committing another $102 million (£80.1 million) this year (2019) to fund polio eradication efforts in 13 countries.
Michel Zaffran, director of polio eradication for the World Health Organization said: “We’re truly on the cusp of eradicating a disease for only the second time in human history. Our responsibility is nothing less than to ensure that no child anywhere will ever again be paralysed by the poliovirus.”
Look at some links to further information
Look at some posts about our support for End Polio Now