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End Polio Now

Rotary International's Polio Plus Program


After 20 years of hard work, Rotary and its partners are on the brink

of eradicating this tenacious disease, but a strong push is needed

now to root it out once and for all. It is a window of opportunity of

historic proportions.

Your contribution will help Rotary raise $200 million to match

$355 million in challenge grants received from the Bill & Melinda

Gates Foundation. The resulting $555 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.

As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world,

children everywhere remain at risk. The stakes are that high.

We are this close to Ending Polio Now!

Chicago Symphony Hall shared its End Polio Now banners

on the night of the concert.

On March 7th, Itzhak Perlman and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, directed

by guest conductor James DePreist, perform Mendelssohn’s Violin

Concerto in E Minor. Before Perlman’s appearance, the

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and conductor James DePreist

played The Corsair Overture by Berlioz and

the Suite from The Firebird by Stravinsky.

Perlman received standing ovations during the program,

prompting an encore performance of the Theme

from Schindler’s List, composed by John Williams.

Photo by Dan Rest

The Concert to End Polio, which brought together Rotarians and

friends of Rotary in Chicago, raised more than

$100,000 for Rotary’s efforts to eradicate the disease.

The event also helped increase awareness of polio, which

many don’t realize is still a threat to children in parts of the world.

Both Itzhak Perlman and guest conductor James DePreist are

long time polio survivors.  RI News recently talked

with DePreist about the importance of eradicating the disease.

You contracted polio in 1962, when you were in your 20s.

What was the disease's impact on your life?

The impact was obvious and immediate: I could no

longer walk. Crutches and braces became a part of

my life, and I learned to adapt.

A Post Concert Comment:

Dr. John E. Jones wrote: What a wonderful evening! I am very

glad that I attended this very moving concert performance.

As a seventy year polio survivor, I am very committed to

Rotary's effort to End Polio Now! It is a wonderful world

where children can be vaccinated so they will not have this

awful disease attack them.

One small drop is all kids need!

Ending polio is Rotary’s top priority. It is more than three-quarters of

the way through its effort to raise $200 million to match $355

million in challenge grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

A celebration of Polio Plus efforts in India.

Palacio de La Moneda, the Presidential House, in Santiago, Chile,

is illuminated with polio eradication messages.

Photo by Francisco Ventosa

Rotarians from several countries joined their counterparts in

India to promote and participate in the 23 January 

National Immunization Day (NID)

Photo courtesy of India PolioPlus Committee.

Recent successes in India’s relentless effort to eradicate polio

are raising hopes that the goal is in sight. The incidence of the

disease is at a record low, with only one case reported

in 2011, as of 1 March, and just 42 in all of 2010. That compares with

741 cases the year before.  A major factor is the widespread

use of the bivalent oral polio vaccine, which is effective

against both types of the poliovirus. Another is rigorous

monitoring, which helped reduce the number of children missed

during National Immunization Days (NIDs) to less than 1 percent

in 2010, compared with 14 percent in 2009, according

to the World Health Organization.

Everyone watched Rotarians administer Polio vaccine.

During NIDs in January and February, Rotarians helped

immunize children; organize free health camps and polio

awareness rallies; and distribute banners, caps, face

masks, comic books, and other items to children. Sporting

signature yellow vests and caps, the volunteers

fanned out to sites including schools, train

stations, and bus depots across the country.

The Trevi Fountains also shows its End Polio Now colors!

Teams of visiting Rotarians from Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands,

New Zealand, and the United Kingdom also took part in activities related to the 23

January NID, which immunized 174 million children.  In Veraval, 

Gujarat, a city of about 340,000 people, Rotarians and others worked

at more than 100 immunization booths. “The town clearly bought into the

whole project, and kids were flowing into the booths for immunizations,”

reports a Group Study Exchange team from District 9980 (New Zealand).

In Murshidabad, the highest-risk area for polio in West Bengal, Rotarian and

non-Rotarian doctors organized health camps to screen and treat children for

other illnesses and immunize them against the crippling disease. Had it not been

for the camps, “many of those children may have remained unvaccinated,” says

Jenny Horton, a nurse, veteran Rotary volunteer, and member of the Rotary Club

of Kenmore, Queensland, Australia.

A polio eradication message appears on the Charminar in

Hyderabad, India. India is one of four countries were the

polio virus remains endemic.

Photo by Ranjit Sinha

Rotarians in India “have learned to take the battle against polio to every nook

and corner,” says Rotary Foundation Trustee Ashok Mahajan.

"It is time to step on the eradication accelerator.”

Says Deepak Kapur, chair of the India Polio Plus Committee: “What we have

achieved in the country through the Polio Plus program is historic and, despite

some last-minute difficulties, the goal of eradicating the disease is within reach.

We now need to strengthen and focus our strategy ... in endemic regions to

finish off this final battle toward a polio-free India.”

The Coliseum in Rome proudly displayed its End Polio Now electronic banner!

For More information:

Contact Us

For information or to make a donation by phone, call 866-976-8279.

or Mail your donation to:

Indicate it is for Polio Plus!

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

Rotary Foundation tax identification number: 36-3245072

Anyone can donate to End Polio Now, not just Rotarians!