Rotary News -- 5 April 2013

The 2013-18 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, developed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), is expected to be finalized this month. Rotary International, along with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are global partners in the GPEI.

In 2012, the World Health Assembly declared polio eradication a “programmatic emergency for global public health” and called for the development of a comprehensive polio eradication and endgame strategy. The plan is designed to interrupt transmission of the wild poliovirus by the end of 2014, strengthen routine immunization, lay the groundwork for securing a lasting polio-free world, and transfer the eradication initiative’s assets to other public health efforts. It is estimated that polio eradication could save the world US$40-50 billion by 2035.

The new plan will cost about $5.5 billion. Therefore, increased support is needed from governments of donor and polio-affected countries, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, and the public, to ensure implementation. Every Rotarian can become an advocate by contacting elected officials, business leaders, friends, and the press to encourage support for eradicating polio.