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Polio Eradication Closer to Reality in Africa

Polio Eradication Closer to Reality in Africa

Rotary New Zealand is pleased to announce significant milestones in Rotary International’s Partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There has not been a case of wild polio transmission in Nigeria since July 2014, and no other wild polio cases in Africa since August 2014.

Whilst a country does not come off the list of polio endemic countries until a year has elapsed since the last reported case and regions are not certified as polio free until three years of adequate surveillance have elapsed since the most recent case, “ this latest update is encouraging” says Stuart Batty, Rotary’s PolioPlus National Advocacy Advisor for New Zealand.

Environmental samples in Nigeria have not shown the presence of the wild poliovirus since June 2014, but the partnership also realises that there are still many unimmunised children clustered in the remaining polio endemic reservoirs.

Rotary has recently approved grants of over US$26 million to WHO and UNICEF for operational support and social mobilisation for continuing immunisations and polio surveillance in African countries. Nearly half of these funds will go to Nigeria and Somalia. Rotary will continue to focus on efforts to ensure that the African continent continues its progress towards polio eradication. Nigeria is one of three countries worldwide where polio is considered endemic. The two others are Pakistan and Afghanistan.

To date, Rotary has contributed more than US $1.3 billion towards the Polio Eradication Campaign. In 2014, there were only 350 confirmed polio cases in the world, down from about 350,000 a year when the initiative launched in 1988.New Zealand Rotarians and their supporters have contributed NZ$5.1 million towards the campaign since it commenced 27 years ago.

New Zealanders are able to support Rotary with tax deductible donations. Options for donors can be found on www.rnzwcs.org

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