Goodbye Wild Poliovirus
C/- Liz
Within the next few days, as reported in the current issue of Rotary Down Under, the World Health Organisation African Region will be officially certified free of wild poliovirus.
August 25 is the red letter day and certification will come four years after Nigeria, the last Polio endemic country in Africa, recorded its last case of wild Polio!
When the African region is certified as wild Polio-free, five of the six WHO regions (representing over 90% of the world’s population) will be free of the wild poliovirus.
This progress is the result of a decades-long effort across the 47 countries of the African region.  It has involved millions of health workers travelling by foot, boat, bike and bus, innovative strategies to vaccinate children amid conflict and insecurity, and a huge disease surveillance network to test cases of paralysis and check sewage for the virus.
In 1996, Rotary and our partners joined with Nelson Mandela to jumpstart Africa’s commitment to polio eradication with the launch of the ‘Kick Polio out of Africa’ campaign. Mandella’s call mobilized African nations and leaders across the continent to step up their efforts to reach every child with polio vaccine.
Since 1996, nine billion doses of oral polio vaccine have been provided, averting an estimated 1.8 million cases of wild poliovirus on the continent.  Thanks to the dedicated efforts of thousands of Rotary members, health workers, traditional and religious leaders, parents, and country leaders.
Rotary and its members have contributed nearly US$980 million to eliminate polio in the African region.
These are amazing statistics and they were highlighted during an End Polio Now Zoom meeting involving 60 EPN Coordinators, Rotary senior leaders and Rotary International staff.
RI Past President and TRF Trustee Chairman Elect John Germ announced Rotary’s fund raising details from the 2019/20 Rotary year in which we just scrambled over the line to reach the coverted goal of US$50 million to ensure the two for one bonus of US$100 million from the Gates Foundation was achieved.
Cash income reached a final total of US$50,795,000!
My request to you all is to share the above information with all Rotary clubs and team members during the next week.
Fund raising in the shadow of Covid-19 will be difficult again in the year ahead and our senior leaders have urged End Polio Now coordinators to encourage their teams to make an early start.
Now is the time to plan high profile activities for World Polio Month in October and especially on World Polio Day of October 24.
The September issue of RDU will carry full details of the Sir Clem Renouf Polio Appeal to be conducted over the next six months and to encourage high level fund raising by all Rotary Clubs and members: a fitting tribute to one of our world’s great Rotary leaders.
Rob Byrne, TRF Services senior coordinator at the RI South Pacific & Philippines office in Parramatta, will do a direct mailing to all Governors and Rotary Clubs with simple instructions on the banking system to support the Clem Renouf Appeal. Our senior leaders in Bill Boyd, Ian Riseley, Noel Trevaskis and Jessie Harman have prepared brief video messages available via the RDU Studio to promote the Appeal and the concept of the virtual meals.
Please urge your Rotary Clubs to get on board and donate the value of their Rotary meal to the Appeal.  Let’s make this new concept work and don’t forget … plan your World Polio Day celebrations now!   
With thanks and warm best wishes,
PDG Bob Aitken