Home News Rotary, partners in fight to eradicate polio
The Rotary Club of Guyana has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years with its goal of ridding the world of this disease. To continually fight the disease, the Club has relied heavily on donations and the support of key partners worldwide.
World Polio Day is celebrated annually on October 24. The Day was established by Rotary International to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis (polio).
Decades ago, the use of the inactivated poliovirus vaccine and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus vaccine, developed by Albert Sabin, led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
In 1988, the World Health Assembly adopted the resolution for the worldwide eradication of polio, marking the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. This initiative was a public-private partnership spearheaded by national governments, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance later joined it.
Today, this Global Polio Eradication initiative is spread across 200 countries with a pool of 20 million volunteers. The initiative has so far utilised over 14 billion US Dollars and has managed to vaccinate over 2.5 billion children; with an overall goal of making the world polio-free.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that wild poliovirus cases have decreased by over 99 per cent since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases in more than 125 endemic countries, then to 175 reported cases last year. As of 2020, wild poliovirus type 1 continues to affect only two countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
According to the WHO, polio is a highly infectious viral disease that largely affects children under 5 years of age. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread, mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (eg contaminated water or food), and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.
The most effective way to prevent the disease is getting vaccinated. Immunisation against polio is recommended for all children from three to 18 months of age. Three booster doses should be given to all children up to 12 years of age.
The Rotary Club of Georgetown Central (RCGC) joins other Rotary Clubs locally and across the globe to commemorate World Polio Day 2020.