With just 11 confirmed polio cases so far in 2017, the world is on the brink of eradicating polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year, reports NaijaAgroNet.
To this effect, Rotary International has voted the sum of $49.5m to help eradicate polio and its attendant challenges, arguing that without full funding and political commitment to eradication, the disease could return to countries that are now polio-free and put children everywhere at risk.
Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, Michael K. McGovern, said this donation was in recognition of the historic progress worldwide and will aid the hosting of events in conjunction with Rotary International’s fifth annual World Polio Day celebration on October 24, 2017.
This year, he also said, the event will be co-hosted by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and held at the foundation’s headquarters in Seattle. The program will feature an update on the global fight to end polio and an array of guest speakers, celebrities, and public health experts. People around the world can view the livestream of the event at this link on October 24 at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time.
“Rotary and its partners are closer than ever to eradicating polio. World Polio Day is the ideal opportunity to celebrate our successes, raise public awareness, and talk about what is needed to end this paralyzing disease for good,” he said.
Rotary, he said, has granted $49.5 million to support immunization and surveillance activities led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Specifically, some of the funds will support efforts to end polio in the three countries where polio remains endemic: Afghanistan ($9.32 million), Pakistan ($8.94 million), and Nigeria ($7.71 million).
NaijaAgroNet said, further funding will support efforts to keep six vulnerable countries polio-free: Chad ($2.37 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($4.5 million), Guinea ($961,000), Somalia ($1.62 million), South Sudan ($3.77 million), and Sudan ($2.56 million). An additional $7.74 million will go toward surveillance activities in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean region.
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