Rotary International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an extension of their existing fundraising partnership that could generate up to US$525 million in new money for polio eradication as the global effort to end this crippling disease enters its critical endgame phase.” The new agreement was announced at Rotary’s annual convention in Lisbon in June 2013 involving some 20,000 Rotary members from 160 countries. The Gates Foundation will match 2 for 1 every new dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication up to $35 million per year through 2018.
Rotary and the Gates Foundation have partnered on polio eradication since 2007, when the Gates Foundation gave Rotary a $100 million challenge grant for polio eradication, increasing it to $355 million in 2009. Rotary agreed to raise $200 million in matching funds by June 2012. When the organization achieved its fundraising goal six months ahead of schedule, the Gates Foundation granted Rotary an additional $50 million. To date, Rotary clubs worldwide have contributed $1.2 billion to the polio eradication effort.
Despite tremendous progress in reducing the incidence of polio, it still exists. Polio will continue to threaten children everywhere as long as it exists somewhere. In this age of global travel, a new outbreak of polio might only be a plane ride away.
Did you know that …
- Polio is a highly infectious disease that primarily affects children under the age of five and can cause paralysis within hours.
- Before eradication efforts began in 1988, polio paralyzed more than 1,000 children a day, which totaled about 350,000 children annually. Since Rotary began working on the Global Polio Erradication Initiative, the incidence of polio hasdeclined by more than 99%.
- Vaccinations are the only thing that can stave off polio. Vaccinations have prevented an estimated 500,000 children per year from contracting polio. A child can be protected against polio for as little as 60 cents (US) worth of vaccine.
- Rotary International is the spearheading member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and is the largest private sector donor. It has contributed more than US$1.2 billion to the polio eradication activities in 122 countries. In addition, tens of thousands of Rotarians have partnered with their national ministries of health, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and with health providers at the grassroots level in thousands of communities.
A polio-free world is within our grasp. Join Rotary’s effort to end this crippling disease. Learn more about Rotary’s ongoing effort to eradicate polio and how you can help at http://www.endpolionow.org.
Categories: Rotary International