SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - World Polio Day is observed globally on October 24th by Rotary clubs worldwide in efforts to bring awareness on the eradication of polio as well as to commemorate the efforts of thousands of volunteers and organizations committed to eradicate polio worldwide. During the month of October, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset will be selling “End Polio Now” wrist bands in efforts to raise funds in support of the worldwide polio eradication efforts.
Polio, or poliomyelitis is a paralyzing and highly infectious disease caused by the deadly ‘Poliovirus’. This deadly disease mainly affects children under the age of 5 and it can quickly spread from person to person through contaminated water. The virus mainly affects the nervous system and often leads to paralysis of a persons’ limbs.
The Poliovirus is responsible for the death of millions of persons worldwide since the early 1950’s; however, thanks to the efforts of the World Health Organization and Rotary International through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the globally recorded cases of polio has reduced from 350,000 cases in 125 countries reported in 1988 to just 22 cases in 2 countries (Pakistan & Afghanistan) reported in 2018. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine that has been made accessible worldwide, even in the most remote locations due to the efforts of the WHO and Rotary International.
Over 2.5 billion children worldwide have been immunized thanks to Rotary, the WHO, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Rotary Foundation has committed to raise US$50 million each year in support of global polio eradication efforts and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that amount 2-to1. Rotary International’s main objective in celebrating World Polio Day is to completely eradicate polio from all parts of the world, making the world ‘Polio Free’.
Despite the success of eradicating polio in 99.9% of the world, Rotary and its partners must sustain the progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this deadly disease could return to ‘Polio Free’ countries, thus putting children everywhere a risk.
In efforts to support the Rotary Foundation, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset will be conducting a Polio awareness drive where ‘End Polio Now’ wrist bands will also be on sale. The drive will be held on October 12th at the Carrefour Supermarket at Bush Road from 10am to 2pm. The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to encourage the general population to make a contribution towards the polio eradication efforts. We are ‘This Close’ to a Polio Free World and we need your help.
On World Polio Day, October 24th, 2019, Rotary International will be hosting a Global Online Update from 7pm-7:30pm. This year's program will highlight the heroes of Polio eradication, with stories from polio-endemic and recently impacted areas. Join us online!