Gates’ challenge Rotary to finish the job
For a video message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLzUr-fnyFA
With a $350 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary is making the final push to eradicate polio in the world. And Rotarians in Murrieta are committed to making it happen, pledging to do their part and inviting the community to join in.
After more than two decades of fighting the deadly and crippling disease, Rotary is within an eyelash of seeing the scourge wiped completely from the earth.
Twenty years ago, polio infected nearly 1,000 children — a day. In 2007, fewer than 2,000 cases were reported worldwide.
Rotary became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, joined in the battle by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF. Since, Rotarians have contributed almost $700 million to the fight through the Rotary International Foundation. The Gates challenge has Rotary raising another $200 million, about 63% of which has already been contributed by clubs and individuals.
Along with fundraising and advocacy, Rotary clubs also provide “sweat equity” on the ground in polio-affected communities, which helps ensure that leaders at all levels remain focused on the eradication goal. Over the years, Rotarians have volunteered their time and personal resources to reach more than two billion children in 122 countries with the oral polio vaccine.
Thanks to Rotary and its partners, the number of polio cases has been slashed by more than 99 percent, preventing five million instances of childhood paralysis and 250,000 deaths.
But the polio cases represented by that final 1 percent will be the most difficult and expensive to prevent for a variety of reasons, including geographical isolation, worker fatigue, armed conflict and cultural barriers.
That’s why it’s so important to generate the funding needed to finish the job. To ease up now would be to invite a polio resurgence that would condemn millions of children to lifelong paralysis in the years ahead.
The bottom line is this: As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children — wherever they live — remain at risk.
Murrieta Rotarians have met the call by Rotary International for each of its 33,000 clubs to donate $6,000 over a three-year period to match the Gates Foundation grant.
Non-Rotarians can help, too. If you wish to make a tax deductible donation to the cause, write a check to the:
Murrieta Rotary Foundation
40485-D Murrieta Hot Springs Rd., #334
Murrieta, CA 92563
In the memo section, write: Polio Plus
The youth of the world thank you.