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Did you know that . . .

Polio is a highly infectious disease that primarily affects children under the age of three and can cause paralysis within hours.
Before eradication efforts began in 1988, polio paralysed more than 1,000 children a day (350,000 children annually). The incidence of polio has since declined by more than 99 percent.
Vaccinations easily can stave off polio. Vaccinations have prevented an estimated 500,000 children per year from contracting polio. A child can be protected against polio for as little as 60 cents (US) worth of vaccine.

Today, polio cases are only found in three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Rotary International is the spearheading member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and is the largest private sector donor. It has contributed more than US$600 million to the polio eradication activities in 122 countries. In addition, tens of thousands of Rotarians have partnered with their national ministries of health, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and with health providers at the grassroots level in thousands of communities.

Rotary and the Gates Foundation have partnered on polio eradication since 2007, when the Gates Foundation gave Rotary a $100 million challenge grant for polio eradication, increasing it to $355 million in 2009. Rotary agreed to raise $200 million in matching funds by June 2012. When the organization achieved its fundraising goal six months ahead of schedule, the Gates Foundation granted Rotary an additional $50 million.

To date, Rotary clubs worldwide have contributed $1.2 billion to the polio eradication effort.

“We’re at a critical point in the fight to end polio,” said Past Rotary Vice President John Germ, who leads the organization’s fundraising efforts for polio eradication. “We must capitalize on this progress to finish the job. We have a robust plan, the tools to reach each child, and with funding in place, we can win against this devastating disease. Rotary and its partners remain committed to a polio-free world.”

Germ also announced a new contribution of $1 million from Sir Emeka Offor, a Nigerian Rotarian and philanthropist, as one of the first major gifts to be matched under the new agreement with Gates.

Rotary helped launch the eradication initiative in 1988, along with spearheading partners the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, new polio cases have plunged by more than 99 percent worldwide, from 350,000 cases annually to just 223 in 2012. Only three countries remain polio-endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. However, every nation remains at risk for infections “imported” from the endemic countries. Europe has been polio-free since 2002.

 The Polio Plus campaign has been described as Rotary's greatest gift to mankind (Nine billion children have been immunised).

July 2011 - Making sure the Rotary information sign on the 'End Polio Now' crocus project is carefully planted, President Joan Davis, President Elect Gerry McElvogue,Treasurer Uel Mcrea, Past President's, Eddie Carr, Victor Jennet and Rotarians Trevor Coffey and Nigel Jess.
The club was kindly supported by Banbridge District Council who gave  permission to plant the purple crocus 'R' in Solitude Park and Rotarians were assisted by Council grounds persons in October to ensure a job well done.
President Joan engaged with both local newspapers to ensure maximum coverage with photographs and editorial.   The general public in Banbridge who supported recent ‘bucket’ collections at Supervalu, Centre and Tesco were kept up to date with  all funds collected in connection with the ‘Thanks for Life’ project .
Photograph: Michael Cousins, Banbridge leader