A recent polio outbreak in Syria shows that the world needs to be vigilant to keep the disease at by.
That from Tanya Wolfe, a former District Governor of Rotary, who has been to five countries to help vaccinate children against the disease with Rotary International. Wolfe was in Petrolia recently to speak to local Rotarians about the Polio Eradication program.
Just last month there were 10 cases of polio found. “Outbreak response strategies are in place to stop these outbreaks quickly,” Wolfe says. “Ten million children under the age of five will be vaccinated in the next few weeks in the Middle East alone.”
Wolfe says Rotary, working with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Center for Disease Control and Gates Foundation hope to eradicate polio by 2018. There are just three countries in the world which still have chronic problems with polio, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. In all there were just 301 cases of polio recorded in the world last year.
“We are 99.99 percent of the way there. This last part of the last percent will be the longest, hardest piece,” she says. “It’ll require more work and commitment than ever before. But this fight is winnable.”
Wolfe encouraged the local Rotarians to continue raising money for the vaccine, including through a donating pennies for the much-needed treatment which will be matched by the Gates Foundation.