Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Health

October 29, 2013

Rotarians “this close” to eradicating polio worldwide

(Continued)

The Preemptive Love Coalition takes team members into Iraq on “remedy missions,” which last two weeks and typically save the lives of 12-to-15 children, while providing more than 1,000 hours of training to local medical staff. The training for local medical providers empowers them to handle future cases and will eventually reduce the massive backlog of children with heart defects awaiting treatment. This allows for sustained improvement and will make a real difference over time, Miller stated.

Miller concluded his speech by stating his desire for Rotary District 6580 to sponsor one “remedy mission” to Iraq to save lives. According to Miller, in 2013, the Preemptive Love Coalition will save more than 300 children’s lives and provide more than 15,000 hours of additional training to medical staff.

Following Miller’s speech, the Rotary Club gathered for a photo, featuring them all motioning that Rotarians are “this close” to stamping out polio worldwide. The debilitating disease has paralyzed or killed millions of people the world over before a vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk in 1955. Other scientists have developed improved vaccines, leading up to the oral polio vaccine developed by Albert Sabin, which has been the only polio vaccine used since it was licensed in 1962.

Due to the efforts of Rotary International, the World Health Organization and UNICEF, enhanced vaccination efforts could soon lead to a global eradication of the viral disease. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Rotary International in support of efforts to eliminate polio. Currently, the foundation has extended their donation matching program to 2018. For each dollar of donations received, the foundation will donate three, making each dollar work three times as hard. For a mere sixty cents, a child can be protected from polio for life.

Twenty-five years ago, polio was still commonly found in 125 countries. In 2013, there are only three polio-endemic countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Less than 1,000 cases in the world are known and 99 percent of the world’s children are now protected.

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