Last week I mentioned we are spending the next two months focusing on how we, as members of the Rotary Club of Salem, make an impact outside our community and across the world. October’s focus is on what Rotary calls the Global Polio Eradication Initiative or End Polio Now. If you have a chance, please take a look at our October edition of the Rotarian Magazine. Starting on page 32 is a super piece; The Annotated Guide to Ending Polio. It provides a good description of polio, the three types we are battling, Rotary’s contribution to the task and what still needs to be done.
In the article three things stood out to me. First, the magnitude of human effort needed. In 2017, 430 million children in 39 countries were immunized. If you ever see videos of this effort, notice the vests of the volunteers displaying the Rotary wheel. It is our worldwide reach with 1.2 million Rotarians that significantly makes this on the ground effort possible. Second was the breadth of the effort beyond giving kids a couple of drops of vaccine. Of the $700 million in PolioPlus grants between 2010 and 2017, funds were directed to operational support, technical assistance, social mobilization, surveillance, vaccines, and research.
The third area that intrigued me was the ongoing efforts even though we are almost there. The last page of the article is Rotary’s plan for keeping the world polio-free forever. It is comprehensive and no small task.
That takes it back to us, a bit less than 180 of the 1.2 million Rotarians in the world. Most of us can’t jump on airplanes and go help on the ground although I did learn last week of one club member that has. What we can do is support the help of others through our own resources. Our club has not been active financially in Rotary’s number one project, and I’ll be frank, I’m part of that issue. Not anymore. I hope you will join me by grabbing a contribution form on the table tomorrow and helping in any way you can. Remember your dollar is joined by two from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and goes toward your Paul Harris Fellowship…a pretty decent return.