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Rotary urges New Zealanders to support effort to end polio

20 October 2015

PRESS RELEASE

Rotary urges New Zealanders to support the global effort to end polio

Following a major global health milestone last month, Rotary in New Zealand urges all New Zealanders to join them in the global fight to eradicate polio by donating to its End Polio Campaign at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/PolioPlus in recognition of World Polio Day on 24 October 2015.

World Polio Day comes at an important time in the fight to eradicate polio, which would be only the second human disease to be eradicated worldwide, after smallpox. In September 2015, the World Health Organization declared Africa’s last polio-endemic country, Nigeria, polio-free, leaving only two countries which have never stopped the virus: Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 1988, when Rotary and its partners committed to eradicating the disease, polio paralysed more than 350,000 children per year in 125 countries – or, more than 1,000 per day. Since that time, the number of polio cases has been reduced by 99.9%, with 51 cases in two countries to date in 2015.

Rotary has contributed more than US$1.4 billion to ending polio, including NZ $5.5 million from New Zealand Rotarians and their supporters since the campaign commenced 28 years ago. Funds contributed to Rotary are tripled thanks to a 2:1 match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotary is joined in the fight to end polio by its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership that also includes the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotary in New Zealand brings together a network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary in New Zealand connects 8,500 members of more than 250 Rotary clubs in New Zealand and the South West Pacific. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in New Zealand and Pacific countries to working toward a polio-free world. Visitwww.rnzwcs.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.

End

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