Oct. 24 was Rotary’s world wide observance of Polio Day. It is a day each year when the 1.2 million Rotarians of the world take credit for the role Rotary International has paid in helping eliminate wild polio from the world.
With support from various countries, many non-governmental agencies, the World Health Organization, various centers for disease control and the financial help of the Gates Foundation, the end of wild polio is within sight.
On Oct. 21, the Newman Rotary Club had an up-to-date polio report. Dr. Steven Jacobs, a retired pediatrician and a member of the Salida Rotary Club, was the speaker of the day. He reminded the members that polio was eliminated in our country thanks to the two polio vaccines created in our country.
“In 1985, when thousands were dying from polio in the Philippine islands, Rotarians in the U.S. were begged to bring volunteers and the new vaccines to be given to the people of the Islands. Rotary responded and soon there were no more polio deaths in the Philippines,” according to Dr. Jacobs.
Jacobs reported that as of this year, there were only two cases of wild polio in the world. These two were reported in January of 2021 – one in Afghanistan and the other in Pakistan. There have been no new cases the rest of the year.
The Newman Club reported to Jacobs that our students in grades K-12 are giving money to the Newman Rotary Polio Plus Fund Program. Within two more weeks, the total raised will be reported in your newspaper. The Gates Foundation will triple this total by granting a double of the money raised.
Jacobs concluded his speech by telling the Newman Rotarians that their club has been one of the most successful of the various Rotary Clubs to which he has spoken.
The 1.2 International Rotarians have been asked to each give $15 this year in the polio challenge. Carol Stephens, the club international chair, has challenged all her fellow Newman Rotarians to donate $15.