Eradication Of Polio Is Rotary’s Mission

Submitted article


Fulton Rotary Club President, Raymond Czachor, is holding a canister that will be placed in many Fulton businesses.  Rotary, a volunteer service organization of 1.2 million men and women, made a commitment to immunize the world’s children against polio in 1985 and became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative three years later.  The other partners are the World Health Organization, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.

Thanks to Rotary and its partners, the number of polio cases has been slashed by more that 99 percent, preventing five million instances of childhood paralysis and 250,000 deaths.  When Rotary began its eradication  work, polio infected 350,000 children annually.  In 2007, fewer than 2,000 cases were reported worldwide.

Recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made a challenge grant to Rotary International.  Their gift of $100 million must be matched by Rotary.  The resulting $200 million will directly support immunization campaigns in developing countries, where polio continues to infect and paralyze children, robbing them of their futures and compounding the hardships faced by their families.

But the polio cases represented by that final one 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 funding 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.

By placing the containers in businesses it is hoped that community members who wish, can help the Rotarians raise the necessary funds to match the Gates Foundation grant.