Today August 11th, Rotary marks a tremendous milestone: one full year without a single case of polio caused by wild poliovirus in Africa.
 
A polio-free Africa has been within sight for over a decade. Health workers, community leaders, government officials and global partners helped reach 230 million African children with the polio vaccine, often under some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. Together, we have done what once seemed impossible: we have stopped polio in Africa.
 
More information on the fight against Polio from the BBC.
 
Yet this progress, momentous as it is, is still fragile...
 
Africa’s last polio case occurred in Somalia on 11 August last year. Nigeria, one of the last three polio-endemic countries, reached one year without a reported case on 24 July.  The World Health Organization (WHO) may soon remove Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries. When Africa goes three years without a case of polio, WHO will certify the region as polio-free.
 
The Rotary Club of Whistler has played a role in this wonderful milestone and we thank our community, Whistler, for the support during several of our fundraising efforts.  Most notably the Elixirs of Life Wine events held several years ago which in total raised approximately $80,000 towards the fight against polio. Thank-you.
 
As long as polio exists in the two remaining endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the virus still has the potential to spread and to spark new outbreaks. Now, more than ever, we need the support of donors, governments and partners to carry us through to the end: not just a polio-free Africa, but a polio-free world.
 
We need your help. During the next four years, the Government of Canada will contribute two dollars for every dollar raised by Rotary Foundation Canada in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Endgame Strategy, to a maximum contribution of $12 million. In addition for every US dollar you donate to Rotary’s polio eradication effort will become three dollars, thanks to a 2-to-1 match from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
 
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