SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - World Polio Day is October 24, and the members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset are taking action on this day to raise awareness, funds, and provide support towards the efforts of eradicating Polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today. Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world.
When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. While on St. Martin and many other countries Polio is just an “ancient” virus, there are still many that are contracting and suffering from this still very live virus. We’ve made great progress against the disease since then. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus being Afghanistan and Pakistan, however, we remain committed to the end.
With Polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners must sustain this progress and continue to reach every child with the Polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to Polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global Polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million. Rotary has contributed more than $2.2 billion to ending polio since 1985, including donations by the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset.
The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to encourage the community to assist in eradicating Polio. Donations can be made at: https://www.endpolio.org/donate. These funds will help to provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents.