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World Polio Day - 24th October 2014

World Polio Day - 24th October 2014

24th October 2014 designated World Polio Day by the World Health Organisation is a reminder of Rotary New Zealand’s part in the fight to eradicate polio, which would be only the second human disease to be eradicated. Only three countries (Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan) have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus. Stuart Batty is Rotary’s PolioPlus National Advocacy Advisor for New Zealand. He says “Rotary New Zealand have raised NZ$6.8 million for Polio Eradication since 1985 and since 2002 the New Zealand Government has given NZ$5.2 million. Overall, remarkable progress has been achieved in the fight against polio. Since 1988, the number of polio cases has been reduced 99% from 350,000 a year to about 400 in 2013. In 2014, Southeast Asia was certified polio-free after India eliminated the disease from its borders, an incredible feat for a country once considered the hardest place on earth to stop polio. Earlier this year, the Director-General of the World Health Organization declared polio to be still a public health emergency of international concern. As such, WHO urged polio-impacted countries to ensure travellers leaving their borders are immunised against the disease. This decision puts additional measures in place to ensure New Zealand as well as the rest of the world protect the incredible progress to rid the world of the disease. Rotary worldwide, made polio eradication its top priority in 1985 and has since contributed US$1.3 billion, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunise more than two billion children in 122 countries. A highly infectious disease, polio still strikes children mainly under the age of five in parts of Africa and South Asia. Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. There is no cure for polio, but for as little as 60 cents worth of oral vaccine, a child can be protected from the disease for life.”

For further information, or to donate, visit www.rnzwcs.org or www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/PolioPlus

ENDS

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