Letters To The Editor - week of 10/24/16--Tribune

Monday, October 24, 2016


Eliminating polio


Dear Editor:


World Polio Day is Oct. 24 and I want to thank all of the 1.2 million Rotary Club members in 200 countries around the world that kept their promise to all of the children of the world when we decided, in 1985, to make polio eradication our number one priority. And in particular, hats off to the people just like you and me, the men and women of the Rotary Club of Humble and other clubs in Rotary District 5890 in the Houston area. The membership of Humble Rotary has donated more than $36,000 during this initiative. The global effort to eradicate polio demonstrates the tremendous impact of immunizations. The number of new polio cases, a disease that once paralyzed more than 1,000 children every day, has dropped more than 99 percent since the 1980s. There are fewer cases in fewer places than ever before, and only three countries (Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan) have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus. The number of wild polio cases reported in 2015 was less than a third of the previous lowest year, 2012. However, a funding gap means immunization campaigns are being cut in high-risk countries, leaving children more vulnerable to polio. If polio isn’t stopped now, the disease could stage a comeback, affecting an estimated 200,000 children every year. Rotary made polio eradication its top priority in 1985. Rotary has since contributed $1.2 billion, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries.


If we can eliminate polio from the planet, dozens of other diseases could follow. This is a historic moment, and one that is meaningful to people — especially children — the world over. As the world stands on the verge of victory over polio, it is important to recognize that amazing things can happen when forces join together for a common good.


Pam McNair
President, Humble Rotary