Rotary International celebrates ‘World Polio Day’ on October 24th. This year’s theme is “Delivering on a Promise” which signifies the declaration adopted in 1988 at the 41st Health Assembly to eradicate polio.
Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system. Each country was affected by poliomyelitis before vaccination. Since it affects the central nervous system, many victims became paralysed, disabled physically, mentally with varying degrees.
To combat polio scientists started researching and manufacturing polio vaccines as early as the 1930s with some success. It was in 1961 that a Sabin Vaccine was successfully tested and manufactured. It was an Oral route Polio vaccine, which is being used currently.
There is no treatment for polio disease except to alleviate pain and suffering. Prevention is the key and Polio drops are the answer.
Rotary launched PolioPlus in 1985 and was a founding member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. Through decades of commitment and work by Rotary and our partners, billions of children have received the oral polio vaccine, thereby preventing them from getting polio disease.
Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years. The primary aim to eradicate polio from the face of the world is achievable in the very near future.
Rotary members through the Rotary International have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless hours of working to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. The action of Rotarians has contributed more than $10 billion enabling the government of the world to immunize children.
Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are not yet free from Polio and aggressive work are being carried out, especially in Afghanistan. Once these three countries are polio-free, we can declare the world as a ‘Polio Free World’. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.
India was declared ‘polio Free’ in 2016 and Pulse Polio Drops Immunization is being carried out in January every year, to prevent fresh cases from coming up, since our neighbouring countries are not yet free from Polio. 2026 is the year targeted to be declared the world as ‘ Polio Free World’