Recently joined Carnforth Rotarians Eric Bassinder and Andrew Kitchen manned our stall at Booths Supermarket in Carnforth on Saturday 26th October to raise awareness of World Polio Day on 24th October which is celebrated throughout the week each year.
On World Polio Day, Rotary and its Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners announced that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide.
WPV3 is only the third infectious human disease-causing pathogen to be eradicated in history, following smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2.
This achievement means that two of the three wild polio strains have now been wiped out, an important marker of progress against the disease.
The announcement comes on the heels of recent news that Nigeria has gone three years without a case of wild poliovirus, which means that the entire African region could be certified wild poliovirus-free in 2020.
The eradication of Polio has been Rotary’s flagship project since 1985 when Polio was endemic in over 125 countries. Polio is now only endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Regrettably there have been 72 reports cases of WPV1 virus reported in Pakistan in 2019, as opposed to 12 in 2018 and 16 reported cases of WPV1 in Afghanistan as opposed to 21 cases in 2018.
Rotary and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered on polio eradication since 2007, when the Gates Foundation gave Rotary a $100 million challenge grant for polio eradication, increasing it to $355 million in 2009. Rotary agreed to raise $200 million in matching funds by June 2012. When the organization achieved its fundraising goal six months ahead of schedule, the Gates Foundation granted Rotary an additional $50 million.
To date, Rotary clubs worldwide have contributed $1.2 billion to the polio eradication effort.