World Polio Day reviews the bold steps taken to end polio
Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) have had to take bold action in the historic fight to eradicate polio. At Rotary’s 6th annual World Polio Day event on 24 October in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, we’ll highlight the monumental and innovative steps that are getting us closer to our goal. We’ll also celebrate 30 years of achievements by the GPEI.
In 1988, when Rotary and its partners founded the GPEI, the paralyzing disease affected 350,000 children. Our collaboration with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and later the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, local health workers, and national governments has helped reduce the number to just 18 cases of wild poliovirus this year.
This year’s event will be livestreamed from The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, known as the “birthplace of American medicine.” It is one of the oldest professional medical organizations in the United States.
Global health experts and celebrities will discuss our remarkable progress toward a polio-free world. Patience Asiimwe, the protagonist of Rotary’s upcoming virtual reality film, “Two Drops of Patience,” will introduce the movie. A sneak peek from Rotary’s documentary “Drop to Zero” will also be featured. Jeffrey Kluger, senior editor for Time magazine, will discuss his experience traveling to Nigeria with Rotary to report on polio eradication. And we’ll celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the GPEI.
World Polio Day is observed in late October to honor the birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the development of the first polio vaccine. Will your club or district host a World Polio Day event? Tell us about it and promote it to the world. Or find an event near you to attend.