An opportunity to help

Rotary, a global organization, has made polio eradication its top priority

We wanted to bring to your attention a historic opportunity in global public health. Only two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan –have never stopped the paralyzing disease polio.

If we can root the virus out of these two last strongholds, polio is poised to be only the second human disease ever eradicated after smallpox. Experts hope to see the last case of polio in these countries in 2016, bringing this opportunity tantalizingly close.

However, experts warn that $1.5 billion U.S. in additional funds is urgently needed to ensure we have the resources in place to finish the job.

Rotary, a global organization comprised of nearly 34,000 clubs across the world, including 174 local members within the Kalamalka Rotary Club, Vernon Rotary Club, Silver Star Rotary Club and Armstrong Rotary Club, has made polio eradication its top priority in 1985. When the initiative started, more than 350,000 people were stricken by polio every year — nearly 1,000 new polio cases every day.

Since that time, cases have been reduced by 99.9 per cent, with only 25 cases so far in 2016. Rotary has contributed more than $1.5 billion to polio eradication efforts, including $7,088 U.S. from our local Rotary Club members within just the last two years.

Your readers can support the fight to protect all children from polio by visiting endpolio.org to donate and learn more.

All donations to Rotary’s efforts to end polio will be tripled, under a 2:1 match from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Greg MacKinnon, Kalamalka Rotary Foundation chairperson;

Brian Reid, Kalamalka Rotary president