Polio has almost been Eradicated
In 1985, 350,000 people per year contracted Polio. Every Year.
That may seem strange to people in North America as the last cases happened in the early 1960's thanks to the vaccination programs. But vaccines were not generally available in third world countries and polio spread rapidly.
Rotary Clubs started a vaccination program in the Philippines that year with fantastic success, and based on this, Unicef, The World Health Organization and Centers for Desease Control came on board with a plan to eradicate Polio around the world.
Once Polio has been wiped off the face of the earth, then vaccinations for polio can stop. It's been done for Smallpox, it will happen for Polio.
In 2011, at the end of October, there were only 444 cases world wide. Every year, the number of cases has declined and within another year or two, it's hoped the last case will be seen.
This is important because there is no cure for Polio, only prevention. And when just one case of polio still exists, the whole world is in danger of being infected. It is an issue that affects us here in North America as the disease is only a short plane ride away and it could again become a huge problem like it was in the 1950's.
34,000 Rotary Clubs world wide are combining forces to raise $200 Million in conjunction with the Gates Foundation grant of $355 Million to get the job done once and for all. The Rotary Clubs of the Okanagan Shushwap area are fundraising in the month of October 2010 as part of this effort.
We are very close to the target now. Of the three types of Polio, type 2 has already been eradicated, leaving only types 1 and 3 in the wild. With the stepped up efforts of Rotary and