The Rajamangala University was the venue for regional Rotary and Rotaract Members taking part in a tree planting event to recognise the organisations huge worldwide achievements in 35 year battle against polio.
Just a decade ago, three-quarters of all of the world’s polio cases caused by the wild virus were contracted in Africa. Now, more than a billion Africans are safe from the disease.
Rotary Foundation Trustee Geeta Manek says that World Polio Day is an opportunity for Rotary members to be motivated to “continue this fight.” She adds, “Rotarians around the world are working tirelessly to support the global effort to end polio.”
Rotary’s challenge now is to eradicate the wild poliovirus in the two countries where the disease has never been stopped: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Routine immunizations must also be strengthened in Africa to keep the virus from returning there.
To eradicate polio, multiple high-quality immunisation campaigns must be carried out each year in polio-affected and high-risk countries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s necessary to maintain populations’ immunity against polio while also protecting health workers from the coronavirus and making sure they don’t transmit it.
“The infrastructure we built through polio in terms of how to engage communities, how to work with communities, how to rapidly teach communities to actually deliver health interventions, do disease surveillance, et cetera, has been an extremely important part of the effort to tackle so many other diseases,” says Dr. Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the director general at the WHO.
Rotary has contributed more than $2.1 billion to polio eradication since it launched the PolioPlus program in 1985, and it’s committed to raising $50 million each year for polio eradication activities..