27 January 2022 marks the first time in Pakistan’s history that a year has passed with no new cases.
Article by PDG Bob Aitken, Rotary End Polio Now Coordinator
January 27 was a red-letter day for Pakistan – Polio free for 12 months!
The welcome good news continues in the wake of ongoing successful vaccination campaigns in that country and neighbouring Afghanistan.
Rotary International’s PolioPlus Chairman, RI Past Vice President Mike McGovern, said the Global Polio Eradication campaign reached 2.4 million children. These children have been in previously inaccessible areas of Afghanistan for the last two years.
At January 11, the number of wild polio virus cases in the world were unchanged from last year - five - one in Pakistan and for in Afghanistan.
‘In Pakistan, the government and Global Polio Eradication Initiative workers are focusing on the whole country but especially in high risk union councils,’ he continued.
‘Of the four cases in Afghanistan in 2021, three emanated from a single area in Pakistan. There were 410 positive environmental samples in Pakistan in 2020 but, in the last six months of 2021, there were only six!
‘This is truly a sign of the progress being made in that the virus is now found in water samples in very few areas,’ he concluded.
Further good news from this vital campaign area is that organisers now have access to sufficient volunteers/paid workers to maintain the impetus.
The focus on controlling the vaccine derived virus across the continent of Africa remains strong.
Chairman Mike said we need to increase immunity by encouraging the use of other vaccines such as those for measles and rubella.
‘Some 85% of the vaccine derived Polio cases in the world in the last six months were in Nigeria.
‘However, COVID remains a concern and strong cooperation continues with the World Health Organisation COVID teams,’ he said.
FUND RAISING IS VITAL
Progressive fund-raising figures for the END POLIO NOW first six months are still being finalised but now is the time for all District Governors and Club Presidents to galvanise their Districts and Clubs back into action.
Remember our fund-raising goals shared with everyone at the beginning of the 2021/22 Rotary year –
- All Rotarians to commit to the challenge of personal giving to Polio – no matter how large of small the amount of the donation. Forming a Clem Renouf/Bill Boyd Polio Club within your Rotary Club at just $10 per year is a great way to start; or perhaps request individual $100 Centurion membership donations to be dropped into the TRF Polio fund?
- All Clubs to commit to RI President Shekhar Mehta’s request for a US$1,500 donation to END POLIO NOW.
- Districts to recognise the value of the Gates/TRF multiplier and allocate portion (20%?) of District DDF to polio.
- All Districts to continue the search for major donors to our Rotary Foundation at a minimum of US$10K each.