Rotary Supports Polio Eradication Campaign in Nigeria With Additional $6.9mLatest News, News Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
By Eric Ojo, Abuja
BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Rotary has announced the donation of additional $6.9 million to support the implementation of immunization activities and surveillance by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Nigeria.
The donation is coming on the heels of historic success against polio in Nigeria and across the continent of Africa. In 1988, Rotary was joined by the Wealth Organization (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas.
Moreover, Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.
In may be recalled that Nigeria was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries by the WHO in 2014, leaving just Afghanistan and Pakistan remaining. With no case of wild poliovirus (WPV) reported since 24 July 2014 in Nigeria, more than a year has passed with no samples testing positive for WPV across the entire country.
This achievement is a tribute to the hard work of countless health care workers, traditional leaders, over 400,000 volunteers and the government who managed to turn the programme in Nigeria around by reaching over 45 million children repeatedly with polio vaccines.
In addition, Polio is on track to become the second human disease ever to be eliminated from the world (smallpox is the first).
The donation which was announced in New York City during event to mark the 2015 World Polio Day (October 24), is part of Rotary new commitment that targets countries where children remain at risk of contracting this incurable, but vaccine-preventable disease.
Rotary, according a statement made available to African Examiner, is contributing $26.8 million to African countries to ensure the disease never returns to the continent: Burkina Faso ($1.6 million), Cameroon ($2.7 million), Chad ($2.6 million), Democratic Republic of Congo ($499,579), Equatorial Guinea ($685,000), Kenya ($750,102), Madagascar ($562,820), Mali ($1.5 million), Niger ($3 million), Nigeria ($6.9 million), Somalia ($4.9 million) and South Sudan ($1.5 million).
“Outside of Africa, Rotary also announced grants of $6.7 million for polio-endemic Pakistan, $400,000 to Iraq and $5.3 million to India. The remaining $990,542 will support immunization activities and surveillance. In total, Rotary gives $40.4 million to end polio worldwide” the statement added..
The statement further explained that Rotary provides grant funding to polio eradication initiative partners UNICEF and the WHO, which work with the governments and Rotary members in polio-affected and high-risk countries to plan and carry out immunization activities.
“To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.5 billion to fight polio. Through 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match two-to-one every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication (up to $35 million a year). Currently, there have been only 41 cases of polio reported in the world in 2015, down from about 350,000 a year when the initiative launched in 1988”, the statement further disclosed.
While applauding the progress Nigeria has made in the Polio Eradication campaign with the support of its development partners and donors, particularly in the last few years, the Chairman of Rotary’s Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee, Tunji Funsho, said all hands must be on deck to ensure that the pace is sustained.
“As we celebrate world polio day in a time when we have been removed from the list of polio endemic countries we must remain vigilant and ensure that all children are immunised again polio until Nigeria is certified polio free and indeed the world is certified polio free. No child is safe from the polio virus until no more polio virus exists on this planet”, he declared.
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