R. I. Bike for Polio & Nigeria Polio Free!
ABOVE: Congratulations! - RI General Secretary John Hewko and RI
staff team successfully finished 104 mile ride of El Tour de Tucson.
97 Rotarian riders raised $7.5+ million for Polio eradication
Nigeria declared polio-free, removed
from endemic list
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on 25 September that
Nigeria is now polio-free and has been officially removed from the
list of countries where polio is endemic. It’s been 14 months
since any cases of polio caused by the wild virus have been detected
With Nigeria’s historic achievement, polio remains endemic in
only two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. That means transmission
of the virus has never been stopped there.
Nigeria was the last country in Africa where polio was endemic. The
continent celebrated its own first full year without the disease on
11 August. Once three years have passed without a case in WHO’s
entire African region, officials will certify polio eradicated there.
“Rotary congratulates Nigeria on its tremendous accomplishment
in stopping polio,” says RI President K.R. Ravindran. “On
behalf of the entire Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we thank
volunteers, health workers, and parents in communities across Nigeria
for their tireless commitment to ensuring every last child is protected
against this devastating disease. In the months ahead, their dedication
will remain as important as ever, as we work to keep Nigeria polio-free
and to eliminate polio from its final strongholds in Pakistan and
Nigeria’s success is the result of several sustained efforts,
including domestic and int’l financing, the commitment of thousands
of health workers, and new strategies that reached children who had
not previously been immunized because of a lack of security in the
country’s northern states.
Type 2 poliovirus gone for good
In other encouraging news, an independent global health commission
officially verified on 21 Sept that wild poliovirus type 2, one of
3 strains of the wild virus, has been eradicated worldwide. Although
the last type 2 case was detected back in 1999, the confirmation is
an important milestone, as Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio
Eradication prepare to switch from a form of the vaccine that targets
all polio types to one that does not protect against type 2.
The announcement by the Global Commission for the Certification of
Polio Eradication confirms only 2 strains of the wild poliovirus remain.
Type 3 wild poliovirus hasn’t been detected in 3 years, &
wild poliovirus type 1 is endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Funding increase needed to reach final goal
On 25 September, the GPEI's Polio Oversight Board met to determine
the next steps needed to eradicate polio. The group concluded that
$1.5 billion in new funding is needed to help Rotary and its partners
end polio in the next few years. With Nigeria now polio-free, spending
will focus on the most vulnerable children in Afghanistan and Pakistan,
while continuing to shield millions of children already living in
“With a fully funded program and global commitment to ending
this disease, we have the opportunity to interrupt transmission of
the wild poliovirus in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2016, opening the
door for certification of a global eradication in 2019,” says
Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus
Committee. “With [Rotary members’] continued support,
we will soon see our dream of a polio-free world realized.”
Doante to End Polio