Rotary • End Polio Now • Year 2016 Review
Posted By Ross Patterson
Despite setbacks, 2016 has been a year of progress towards a polio free world; we saw the fewest cases at the end of the year with 35 compared with 74 in 2015, and 359 in 2014.
In August, polio cases were reported in Nigeria, the first found in two years,amidst a wider humanitarian crisis. A large-scale regional emergency response was immediately launched, reaching millions of children with polio vaccines to ensure that immunity was rapidly built up. Continued focus on Nigeria is critical in the upcoming year, as we work to find every virus, protect the health of children and achieve widespread vaccine coverage.
The programme also marked a remarkable global achievement earlier this year: during a two-week period in April, countries around the world orchestrated the largest and fastest globally coordinated vaccine project in history. One hundred and fifty five countries and territories switched from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine, offering enhanced protection from the last two strains of polio.
And in January, India – the country once considered the toughest place on earth to stop polio – marked five years since its last case. Maintaining this incredible achievement will require sustained and heightened surveillance and ongoing vaccination efforts; in India and in all countries vulnerable to polio returning.
The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is no barrier to the poliovirus. Populations move fluidly across these borders and the virus moves with them. Pakistan and Afghanistan have in one country depends on success in the other. Monthly polio immunization campaigns have been synchronized so that no child on either side of the border can fall through the cracks.
This year has brought us closer than ever to a polio-free world. In 2017, it will be critical that we continue building on this recent progress and maintain unwavering commitment to the end.
Matching Grant from the Gov’t of Canada fulfilled
I am pleased to advise that the match funding from the government of Canada, C$12 million in total, has been fully paid earlier than expected thanks to the continued generosity and effectiveness of Rotarians in raising funds, and doing so at a rate that was faster than projected.
We are now asking the government for a further commitment which would include a matching contribution to Canadian Rotarian club contributions. It’s unlikely that an answer to our request will be heard until the next budget is filed (March 2017 or later).
Written by Wilf Wilkerson, President, Rotary International, 2007-08, National Advocacy Adviser for Canada