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EVANSTON, Ill., September 27, 2012 -- Rotary International plans to contribute US $75 million over three years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as part of a worldwide effort to close a $945 million funding gap that threatens to derail the 24 year-old global health effort, even as new polio cases are at an all-time low. Rotary already has contributed more than $1.2 billion to stop this crippling childhood disease.

"It is imperative that governments step up and honor their commitments to polio eradication if we are to achieve our goal of a polio-free world," said Wilkinson. "We are at a true tipping point, with success never closer than it is right now. We must seize the advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the world's children." Earlier this year, Rotary raised $228 million in new money for polio eradication in response to a $355 million challenge grant from the Gates Foundation, which promptly contributed an additional $50 million in recognition of Rotary's commitment.

The urgency at the UN follows action taken in May by the World Health Assembly, which declared polio eradication to be a "programmatic emergency for global public health." Although new polio cases are at an all-time low - fewer than 140 worldwide so far this year - the $945 million shortfall has already affected several scheduled immunization activities in polio-affected countries and could derail the entire program unless the gap is bridged.

Rotary's chief responsibilities in the initiative are fundraising and advocacy, a role of increasing importance as the end game draws near. In early September, Rotary launched a new, interactive website http://www.endpolionow.org intended to educate, activate and inspire visitors to actively support the polio eradication effort.

For more information on Rotary International, visit: http://www.rotary.org
For more information on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, visit: http://www.polioeradication.org

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 11:05

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