February 28, 2023
October 24th is World Polio Day | EndPolioNow.org

2022 in review

For polio eradication efforts, 2022 brought good news. Fewer genetic strains of the virus are circulating than ever before. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries where polio remains endemic. And support from political, medical, and community leaders in those areas has strengthened vaccination efforts during the past year. Global support for polio eradication also reached new heights, as was proven at the World Health Summit in October, when Rotary and international partners and donors pledged a combined US$2.6 billion to eradicate the disease.

There were challenges in 2022 as well. The poliovirus appeared in places it hasn’t been for a long time: Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to name a few. Wild poliovirus cases were reported in Mozambique, related to the 2021 case in Malawi caused by wild poliovirus imported from Pakistan. News of these cases didn’t slow our eradication efforts, however. If anything, it made us even more determined. Now is our best chance to finish the fight against polio.

In 2023, we need everyone’s help. We invite you to use the call to action “Together, we end polio” to express our collective will to finish the job. Explore the shareable images, ads, and other materials on Rotary’s Brand Center, and check again throughout the year, because we’ll add even more content. Let’s work together to end this disease forever.

Promote the power of vaccines for World Immunization Week this April

With decades of experience in polio eradication, Rotary members play a key role in publicizing the power of vaccines. In part because Rotary members and partners have worked so hard to counteract vaccine hesitancy and reach all children with the polio vaccine, we’ve immunized billions of children against the disease.

World Immunization Week, 24-30 April, is an opportunity for Rotary and Rotaract clubs to spread the message that vaccines save lives. It’s critical to continue polio vaccinations for children around the world and to advocate for COVID-19 vaccinations for all.

To end polio, address community needs

Rotary’s PolioPlus program integrates polio immunization work and efforts to provide basic services, such as access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Because poliovirus is transmitted through contaminated water, improving water quality, in addition to vaccinating people, is critical to stopping its spread. When we address a community’s basic needs, we also build goodwill and trust that support our polio vaccination campaigns.

Rotary and polio in the news
  • Bloomberg News, an international news agency, quoted Carol Pandak, Rotary’s director of PolioPlus, in a piece that emphasized the fact that if polio exists anywhere, it is a threat everywhere. The article also highlights Rotary’s role in inspiring the start of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
  • Punch, a national Nigerian daily newspaper, published an opinion piece by Rotarian Kunle Adeyanju, who rode a motorbike from London to Lagos to raise awareness of the need to end polio.
  • Der Tagesspiegel, a national German daily newspaper, featured PolioPlus National Advocacy Adviser Anne von Fallois in connection with the funding commitment event at the World Health Summit in Berlin.
  • Financial Times quoted Carol Pandak noting that polio anywhere is a threat everywhere in an article published on 23 October.
  • Fox 32 (Chicago) conducted a live, in-studio interview with polio survivor Ina Pinkney for World Polio Day.  Pinkney stressed the importance of vaccination, noting that polio is 100% preventable and 100% incurable.
  • NEWS CENTER Maine (NBC affiliate) interviewed polio survivor Ann Lee Hussey about her work to immunize children and featured Rotary information and hyperlinks, teasing World Polio Day. More recently, Hussey was featured on Maine Calling, a live call-in program, along with Janell Routh (epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Dora Anne Mills (chief health improvement officer, MaineHealth), to share her experiences as a polio survivor and Rotary member.
Support polio vaccines for children

Please consider contributing to Rotary’s PolioPlus Fund, and have your donation matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Your donation helps us reach vulnerable children with the polio vaccine and other essential health services.

© Rotary International
One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201-3698, USA

By PDG Scott McLaughlin

District Governor 2019-2020
PDG Scott is currently serving as an Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 29 (Region 36). Scott is a member of the Paul Harris Society and Major Donor.Scott is a Rotarian in the Kearney Dawn Rotary Club of Kearney, NE

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