World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. Use of this inactivated poliovirus vaccine and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus developed by Albert Sabin, led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication initiative (GPEI) in 1988. Since then the GPEI has reduced polio worldwide by 99%.
Since 1985 Rotary International’s Polio Plus program has contributed greatly to the protection of more than two billion children from the dreaded disease of Polio. Rotary International’s goal is the certification of polio eradication. Polio eradication means the interruption of the transmission of the wild poliovirus. With its vast volunteer network of 1.2 million members in more than 165 countries, Rotary is the key private sector partner in the war against polio, penetrating nearly every polio-endemic and high risk country to immunize the world’s children. Rotarian contributions support transporting the vaccine and health workers to immunization posts and initiating dynamic public education programs to motivate parents to vaccinate their children.
The Nakusp Rotary Club has donated over $2392.22 to the Polio Plus program for the 2013 – 2014 Rotary year and expect to match this amount again in 2015. The club’s contribution was matched by Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and the Government of Canada.
Since 1985 Rotary’s contributions to the global polio eradication effort has been 1.3 billion dollars US.