October 24th is World Polio Day. Polio ravaged the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year, mostly children, before Rotary made a commitment to eradicate polio. Thanks to the commitment of Rotarians since then, we now have fewer cases of polio than at any time in history. Only three countries are still polio-endemic; wild virus still circulates in only one remaining reservoir, on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The success of this work has come as the result of decades of concerted and sustained effort by Rotary and all of our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Rotary’s involvement has been wide-ranging: we have raised over 1.9 billion dollars to date, and have contributed countless volunteer and staff hours to the practical work of eradication, including immunization, fundraising, and advocacy. Our success has been tremendous, and we are confident that our work will soon be complete. Yet significant challenges remain, and the need for continued funding is acute. Until eradication is certified—at least three years from the time the last poliovirus is found anywhere in the world—every single child must be immunized, at a continuing cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. If any of that work is slowed or stopped, if any of our momentum is lost, we risk losing everything we have worked for, for so many years. Visit EndPolio.org to learn more.

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