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
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
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:
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 Foundation tax identification number: 36-3245072
Anyone can donate to End Polio Now, not just Rotarians!