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World Polio Day on October 24

World Polio Day on October 24

Rotary New Zealand will be marking World Polio Day on October 24 with some muted satisfaction. Joining with Polio eradication partners around the world Rotary are marking the first World Polio Day since India was removed from the list of countries with active transmission of wild poliovirus. This development has opened up a historic opportunity to complete polio eradication in the remaining endemic countries, powered by the World Health Assembly declaration “to accelerate and intensify support to poorly-performing areas of Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan through increasing by the end of 2012 the vaccination coverage to such levels as to interrupt transmission of all the remaining polio viruses.”

Since World Polio Day last year, the number of new cases of polio has declined (from 467 at this time last year to 171 this year).

When Rotary first started the fight against polio in 1985, the disease affected 350,000 people every year in 125 countries. Since then, polio has been reduced by 99%. We are “This Close” to ending polio Stuart Batty, Rotary New Zealand’s PolioPlus National Advocacy Advisor said.

Fewer than 700 new polio cases were reported in 2011 and only three countries have never stopped the disease. For a little as US$0.60, a child can be protected against polio for life.

Batty went on to say, if we don't finish the job, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralysed by polio in the next 40 years.

When the world is declared Polio free, it will be only the second human disease in history -after smallpox- to be eradicated worldwide. Ending polio forever is a critical step toward protecting all children from vaccine-preventable diseases. A win against polio is a win for global health Batty said.

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