The Rotary Minute is a quick one-minute story that features the work and impact of Rotary in our community and world!
As you may or may not know, last Monday, October 24th, was World Polio Day, a global day to raise awareness and resources for the worldwide effort to eradicate polio. 

World Polio Day this year comes on the heels of a global summit, co-hosted by the German Government, held on October 18th at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany.  At this event, the international community committed $2.6 billion to the global effort to eradicate polio.  

More than 3000 scientists and health experts from 115 countries attended the conference and urged the world to fully fund eradication strategies following the resurgence of the disease. The funding will support global efforts to overcome the final hurdles to polio eradication, vaccinate 370 million children annually over the next five years, and continue disease surveillance across 50 countries.
Wild poliovirus is endemic in just two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, after just six cases were recorded in 2021, 29 cases have been recorded so far this year, including a small number of new detections right here in the United States!

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, progress toward eradicating polio was proceeding at a remarkable rate. During the 1940s and ’50s, when polio outbreaks were a common scourge of the summer months, the disease killed or paralyzed more than half a million people worldwide each year – primarily children. 

The introduction of inactivated poliovirus vaccine created by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1953 led to a dramatic reduction in the incidence of polio in higher-income countries during the 1960s and ’70s. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that the battle against polio really commenced thanks to Rotary International! Rotary launched PolioPlus in 1985 and was a founding member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. Through decades of commitment and work by Rotary and our partners, more than 2.5 billion children have received the oral polio vaccine.
Today we in the final mile of this fight.  If polio eradication is successful, it would only be the second human disease, after smallpox, to have been scrubbed from the face of the Earth. And we are this close!

We will all benefit equally from a polio-free world. Together, we will end polio! And that is today’s Rotary Minute!