Two years ago I wrote about the heroic efforts being taken worldwide to end polio forever. Agencies like the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many national governments have come together to fight the spread of this deadly disease. Rotary International has been successfully tackling this disease for almost 30 years and has co-hosted a World Polio Day for the last four years. This year, that day was October 24. Local Rotarians held fundraisers to donate funds to the End Polio Now Fund. This fund has resulted in the immunization against polio of over 2.5 billion children around the world, achieving a decrease in polio worldwide of 99.9 percent. The goal of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is to end disease worldwide by 2018, and this is well within reach.
Local Rotarians are doing their best to move the world toward this goal and two local Forsyth County clubs held events during the week of World Polio Day to continue the fight. The Rotary Club of Kernersville turned their 8th annual Cue ‘n Stew social event on October 15th into a fundraiser as part of the “World’s Greatest Meal” program to help support the worldwide polio eradication effort. With more than 85 in attendance, the club enjoyed a homemade meal of BBQ, Brunswick stew, and all the fixings at Wilstella Farm Event Center in Kernersville. Following the meal, a corn hole tournament was held with entry fees going to support the Polio Plus effort. A total of $215 was raised and contributed by the Kernersville Club to The Rotary Foundation’s Polio Plus fund.
The Rotary Club of Clemmons held a Purple Pinkie fundraiser during a service meeting on October 26 at the Crosby Pub at the Village Inn in Clemmons. Club members volunteered for two hours preparing flyers for an upcoming event, donated $220 to Polio Plus, and painted their pinkies purple in support of the field workers who vaccinate children and then mark their pinkies to track who has been vaccinated.
Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, with the majority of cases in Pakistan. In 2016, there have only been 27 total confirmed polio cases in these three countries. The goal of eradication is within reach, which could allow the world to be a healthy place to live. Rotary would love to gift the world with a polio-free planet by next Christmas, through the efforts of one local Rotary club at a time! Merry Christmas, World!