2009-04-24 / Community

Rockaway Rotary Pledges To End Polio

Dan Mirkin, president of Rockaway Rotary, announced this week that the organization had pledged $2,300 to PolioPlus, Rotary International's program dedicated to eradicating polio in the world. This raises the total sum pledged by the local Rotary club to $39,000.

PolioPlus, the most ambitious program in Rotary's history, has, for more than 20 years, led the private sector in the global effort to rid the world of this crippling disease. Since the program's inception in 1985, more than two billion children have received the oral polio vaccine. Today, PolioPlus is recognized worldwide as a model of publicprivate cooperation in pursuit of a humanitarian goal.

Where once thought to be abolished, poliovirus has resurged in areas of India and Africa, particularly in the four remaining endemic countries; Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan, which continue to export it to polio-free areas. In some cases, religious fanatics have been urging families against vaccination, claiming it was a western plot to make their daughters sterile.

In addition to providing financial and volunteer support, Rotary works to urge support from other public and private sector partners. This includes the campaign to End Polio Now, inspired by the extraordinary challenge grants received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information about PolioPlus and Rotary, visit www.rotary.org.

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