Rotary club helps make Africa wild polio-free

Rotary club helps make Africa wild polio-free
Rotary Club helps eradicate Polio in Africa

Last week the Africa Regional Certification Commission declared the continent wild polio free after four years since the last recorded case.

While vaccine-derived polio – a rare form caused by a mutated form of the virus contained in polio vaccination still exists – there hasn’t been a case of wild police in Africa since 2016.

This incredible milestone has been helped by decades of effort by Rotary Clubs and volunteers around the world, who have fundraised, campaigned and worked tirelessly since Rotary pledged to rid the world of polio more than 30 years ago.

The Tonbridge branch have raised funds in many different ways including planting flower beds to raise awareness, selling Christmas cards, and climbing the O2 Dome.

Rotary has directly contributed more than US$2billion to ending polio since 1985.

All the money raised has been matched in contribution by the Gates Foundation multiplier and was sent to Bill Gates’ charity End Polio Now.

Polio is a debilitating disease mainly affecting children, which can cause paralysis and even death.

President Peter Ruck said: “This is a terrific landmark in the world’s battle to eradicate polio. Although it has been many years since polio has been present in the UK and Ireland, we are proud to have contributed to the global efforts to eliminate the disease for good.

“We remain committed to making the final, challenging steps towards making a polio-free world a reality.”

The certification comes four years after Nigeria, the last polio-endemic country in Africa, recorded its final case of wild polio which now means of the WHO’s six regions, five of those – accounting for 90% of the world’s population – are free from polio.

Globally, more than 2.5 billion children have been protected against the disease, which has reduced the number of cases by 99.9% from around 1,000 cases per day in 125 countries.

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