Polio has been paralyzing people for centuries. This highly infectious disease caused by virus, potentially causes lifelong paralysis to young children. Generally, people suffer from fever, vomiting and stiffness in their limbs prior to the virus taking over their bodies. Children who have been infected with the virus, while they do not all suffer paralysis, but they can potentially infect other children. As long as virus is alive and people are moving with the virus, and it will spread as people move. It is important to remember there is no cure for polio; it exists only on humans and it can only be prevented by vaccination.
The Rotary organization was the first to have the vision of a polio free world. In 1979 Rotary International President Sir Clem Renouf noticed that smallpox had been eradicated, U.S.A has been already polio-free. There was a vaccine against Polio virus. It was something that could be administered by volunteers because it was an oral vaccine. And it was fairly inexpensive. So then Rotary took on the task of doing a project for $760,000 to vaccinate six million children in the Philippines in 1979. After three years, polio in Philippines was gone.
In 1985 Rotary launched Rotary International PolioPlus program to immunize all the children of the world against Polio.
1988 Rotary was joined by the World Health Alliance, which consisted of a lot of the countries of the world, plus WHO, UNICEF, and the CDC. Since then the polio eradicating campaign has made great progress. In 2007 Bill and Melinda Gates foundation joined the group.
At the time, polio paralyzed more than 1,000 children worldwide every day and 125 countries were polio-endemic.
Over the last 30 years, we have reduced cases by 99.99 and saved 16 million children from paralysis or death caused by Polio. In the last two years, only two countries have recorded cases of polio caused by the wild polioviruses: Only twelve cases of polio caused by the wild virus have been reported so far in 2017, 7 in Afghanistan and 5 in Pakistan. But eliminating the virus from those two endemic countries is enormously challenging, and leaders of the polio eradication effort said that they had pushed back their goal for global eradication by one year, to 2019, and would need to raise $1.5 billion to meet it.
What your need to know:
- If polio is not eradicated, within 10 years as many as 200,000 will be paralyzed by it each year.
- In 2016, more than 450 million children were vaccinated multiple times using more than two billion doses of oral polio vaccine. This will be done every year until the world is certified polio free. Rotary funds will help do this.
- Todate,122 countries have benefited from PolioPlus grants for polio immunization and eradication efforts.
- The number of polio cases has been declined by 99.9% and since Rotary launched the PolioPlus program. The number of polio endemic countries declined from over 125 to 3.
- This pledge included Rotary’s commitment to raise $50 million per year over the next three years as part of the End Polio Now: Countdown to History campaign.
- Under an extended partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched 2-to-1 (Up to $50 million per year)
Nepal’s Polio program has made tremendous progress over the years. From estimated 80 polio cases in 1984 to zero case in the year 2001 and Nepal was Polio free from 2001-04. The last Indigenous case of wild Poliovirus detected in Nepal was in 1999. All cases since 2000 were imported from India. In 2005, four Polio cases were detected in the border and continued to rise to twenty by 2008. No cases were reported in 2009, again in 2010 six cases were reported in Nepal. Last case was 30 August 2010 in Rautahat to a girl name Salimallah Alma.
No case was reported since September 2010 to till today.
The polio partnership in Nepal is led by the Child Health Division, Government of Nepal. To support CHD Government of Nepal and supporting partners, Strengthening shall be our participation together with CHD/GON, Development Partners, WHO, UNICEF, CDC (US AID) RED CROSS and Rotary clubs. Orientation seminar were conducted different places with the Government, WHO and UNICEF to educate and motivate Rotarians and Rotarcters and other Volunteers to help mobilize communities for immunization, during National Immunization Day and on the strengthening the Routine Immunization. Circulating vaccine-derive poliovirus (VDPV) occurs when high proportions of children are susceptible to poliovirus infection due to very low vaccination coverage. If population is fully immunized they will be protected against both vaccine-derive and wild poliovirus.