NEWS RELEASE

Rotary Club of [CITY] [UNDERTAKES ACTIVITY] to end polio worldwide

 

CITY, STATE (DATE) — As Rotary celebrates its 109th anniversary on February 23rd, Rotary clubs around the world continue the organization’s mission to rid the world of the crippling childhood disease polio. The Rotary club of [CITY] [INSERT PLANNED ACTIVITY OR A SYNOPSIS OF HOW THE CLUB HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE EFFORTS OVER THE YEARS].

This [CLUB ACTIVITY] follows a succession of significant developments that have brought the world closer to eradicating only the second human disease in history.

In January, India, once considered the global epicenter of the disease, celebrated a major accomplishment in global health. After three years with no new cases of wild poliovirus, the country is now considered polio-free, setting the scene for the entire WHO-designated Southeast Asia Region (SEARO) to be declared polio-free.  The SEARO region includes: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. A review will take place on 27 March 2014 to determine that all the requirements for certification of polio eradication have been met.

 

[INSERT QUOTE FROM LOCAL CLUB MEMBER- WHY THEY ARE WORKING TO END POLIO] 

Rotary and polio eradication

In 1988, Rotary helped launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the polio eradication effort.

Thanks to a new fundraising campaign, End Polio Now: Make History Today, recently launched by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Foundation will match two for one every new dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication up to US$35 million per year through 2018.

Overall, the annual number of new polio cases has plummeted by more than 99 percent since the 1980s, when polio infected about 350,000 children a year. Only 223 new cases were recorded for all of 2012. More than two billion children have been immunized in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 deaths. Polio today remains endemic in only three countries, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, although “imported” cases in previously polio-free areas – such as Syria and the Horn of Africa — will continue to occur until the virus is finally stopped in the endemic countries.

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit Rotary.org or endpolionow.org.