About End Polio Now
In 1985, Rotary International launched Polio Plus, an ambitious programme to immunize the world's children against polio when there were approximately 1,000 new cases every day with 3 viruses endemic in 125 countries. Rotary's grassroots leadership, volunteer support and initial funding for vaccine provided the catalyst for the World Health Assembly's resolution in 1988 to eradicate polio worldwide. Spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative were the World Health Organization, Rotary International, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF.
Worldwide Rotarian fundraising for Polio continued over the years, with Polio vaccination increasing. However, in 2007 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenged Rotary to complete the project by matching their $100 million grant to End Polio Now and raise $100 million dollars in three years.
In 2009 the Foundation allocated another $250 million, challenging Rotary to now raise $200 million by June 2012. The project was re-launched as the $200 Million Challenge to make the final push for total eradication. Each Club was challenged to raise funds each year with a target of $6,000. The resulting $550 million directly supporting immunisation campaigns in affected countries, where polio continues to infect and paralyse children, robbing them of their futures and compounding the hardships faced by their families.
On January 17 2012 Rotary International announced that the Gates Foundation Challenge had been met 5 months early with $202.6m having been raised. By end June 2012 over $225m had been raised and in District 1160, $512,748.12 was raised which exceeded the District target by $68,000. The Rotary Club of Belfast’s contribution of $41,855.53 is the highest RIBI Club contribution to End Polio Now and this figure does not include the substantial funds of approx. $17,000 raised at the Charity Garden Party held in June 2012.
The Gates Foundation have now announced that they will be committing an additional $50m to the project - this new grant is not a challenge grant. Bill Gates delivering the Richard Dimbelby Lecture 2013 described the battle to eradicate polio as one of the most difficult tasks the world has ever faced and revealed the fight against the disease was the project he dedicated most of his time to. He praised the work of Rotary International and vowed he was committed to doing whatever it takes to win this fight. He expressed the belief that with the necessary funds, political commitment, and resolve we will eradicate Polio within six years. (The full lecture can be read here)
As a result of this partnership's efforts:
The incidence of Polio has dropped from about 350,000 per day to only 604 reported for 2011 and 222 for 2012. Also India, recently an epicentre of the wild poliovirus, has since January 11 2011 completed 2 full calendar years without a case being recorded. It can be confirmed 'Polio Free' if there is a further year without reported cases. But most importantly, so far this year (up to 23 january 2013) the have been NO CASES recorded anywhere. However, polio still threatens children in parts of Africa and South Asia, remains endemic in three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan thus leaving other countries at risk from imported cases from there.
Rotary International members have also given countless hands-on volunteer hours to this critical effort. Sporting their signature yellow vests and caps, Rotarians from India and worldwide - including our own PP Marnette Lyons (shown right) have helped administer vaccines to children in India and raised polio awareness. Click on image to see report of PP Marnette's National Immunisation Day.
If we don't stay the course experts say Polio could rebound to 10 million cases in the next 40 years- it is only a plane ride away..
The threat of polio anywhere is a threat to children everywhere.
Club contributions and Awards
The Rotary Club of Belfast has a history of generous financial support for Foundation and the End Polio Now Campaign and remains committed to it. The Rotary Club of Belfast's contribution of $41,855.53 was the highest Club contribution to End Polio Now in RIBI.
This level of contributions been recognised at District and International levels and the Club is honoured to have received these awards on behalf of all the members who made them possible.
|At the 2012 District 1160 Conference the Club were awarded the District Chris Croft Trophy 2011-12
for having made largest contribution in RIBI to RI $200 End Polio Now Challenge.
|District Foundation Certificate in recognition of achieving the target with a contribution in excess of $6,000 - January 2012.
Rotary Foundation Certificate of Appreciation for the support of the Challenge having contributed $40,000 - January 2011.
|Howard Caskie Foundation District Award 2009-10 for the highest per capita contribution to The Rotary Foundation - equivalent of £283 per member - September 2010.|
|District Chris Croft Trophy 2008-09 for making the best effort in Foundation Service - September 2009. Monies raised at that point meant that President Courtenay could, in 2009, present RIBI President Ian Thomson with a cheque for US$ 60,000, which, including the Gates Foundation matching funds, represented the total amount actually going to End Polio Now. Picture shows PP Gordon Millington, President Courtenay, RIBI President Ian Thompson, PP Marnette Lyons and PP Bryan Johnston|
Thanks are due to all who have been involved.
Fundraising efforts have covered a wide variety of facets such as concerts, ballots for cars, sponsored water-skiing, filling ‘smarties’ tubes and several social events. A few are detailed below (click on image) the most recent being the Charity Garden Party held in Hillsborough Castle June 2012 (click on image).
|Harvard Glee Club Concert||Sponsored Water-ski||Hillsborough Concert|