Members of the Altus Rotary Club recently contributed $1,835.50 to fund inoculations against polio to bring the world one step closer to eradicating the disease.
Altus Rotary Club president Rollann Horschler said, “Our members’ donations will cover the cost of polio inoculations for 3,058 children.”
The Mayo Clinic website defines polio as “…a contagious viral illness that in its most severe form causes paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death.” It spreads through contaminated food and water and can be prevented through inoculation.
According to Horschler, members of all of the 33 Oklahoma Rotary Clubs in District 5770 were challenged by District Governor Marilyn Kaplan to donate $10,000 to the Rotary International Foundation in conjunction with World Polio Day on Oct. 24, 2015.
“Together we raised a total of $49,494. That will be matched by a 2:1 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing even more life-saving medicine to almost 250,000 children,” said Kaplan. “My fellow Rotarians have put their beliefs into action and demonstrated ‘Service Above Self’ with these donations.”
Eradication of the disease has been a 30-year initiative by the international service organization’s foundation to fund health partners to inoculate all children in countries where the wild polio virus still exists.
The World Health Organization declared India “polio-free” in 2014, and reports that there were no new cases of the wild polio virus across the entire African continent in 2015. Pakistan leads the world in reported polio cases followed by Afghanistan where cases are thought to be crossing the border from Pakistan. Both countries saw a substantial reduction in cases in 2015 due to inoculation efforts.
For more information about the Rotary Foundation’s “End Polio Now” initiative, visit http://www.endpolio.org/. Information about Rotary District 5770 is at http://portal.clubrunner.ca/50022.