Basseterre, St. Kitts — Rotary members in St. Kitts and Nevis are taking action on World Polio Day to raise awareness and support to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.
When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. We have made great progress against the disease since then. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. And we remain committed to the end.
With polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners must sustain this progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million.
“Although polio has been eradicated in our country and Region for many years now, the fight continues in other parts of the world,” said Ms Deniece Alleyne, President of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga. “Our Club is proud to join our fellow Rotarians worldwide to support this fight and we are ‘this close’ to ending polio worldwide.”
Rotary has contributed more than $2.1 billion to ending polio since 1985, including over EC$100,000 donated by the Rotary Club of Liamuiga over the last 17 years.