Anti-Polio Drive and Sabin Stamp

Rotary Helps Launch Major Anti-Polio Drive in Bangladesh

Nation’s first polio case in five years prompts swift response - Rotary International is participating in a massive polio immunization campaign in Bangladesh aimed at reaching 18 million children under the age of five with the oral polio vaccine.
The campaign began April 16, the first of three polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) in Bangladesh. The other two NIDs will be May 13 and June 11. These NIDs were sparked by the confirmation in March that a nine-year old girl from rural Bangladesh had contracted the crippling disease. This was the first case of polio in Bangladesh in more than five years and so far there have been no other reported cases.
The Government of Bangladesh decided to immunize all children nationwide under the age of five years as a precaution, as it was uncertain how the young girl had contracted the virus or where the virus was circulating.
“It is imperative that we reach every child with the vaccine,” said M.K. Panduranga Setty, vice-chair of Rotary's Southeast Asia Regional PolioPlus Committee. “We cannot let polio regain a foothold in Bangladesh.”
On 15 March, The Rotary Foundation approved a US$150,000 Rapid Response Grant in support of the planned immunization activities. The Rotary Foundation’s support for polio eradication activities in Bangladesh since 1985 now totals more than US$17 million. Bangladesh is home to nearly 4,000 Rotary members, many of them active in the polio eradication campaign.
The NIDs will target 18 million under-five children and give them three doses of the polio vaccine at regular intervals. The campaign will also focus on the search for cases of acute flaccid paralysis, and effective management and prevention of the spread of reported polio virus cases. The campaign will target the hard-to-reach and will administer vaccines at airports and at land borders.
The polio NID was launched by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mr. Khondoker Mosharraf Hossain in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.
“The central challenge now is sustaining the momentum. For as long as one transmitter of the polio virus remains anywhere, all children will be at risk – and until that last child is reached, the task is not completed,” said Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) works with governments around the world to reduce the incidence of polio and is spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF. The GPEI has reduced the incidence of polio by more than 99% since its launch in 1988, from 350,000 annual cases to 1,950 cases in 2005.
For this campaign the GPEI has helped procure 24 million vaccines and has been involved in the massive preparations which include orienting and training health workers and field-based volunteers. It has also been instrumental in raising awareness through the electronic media, interpersonal communication, distribution of communication materials and door-to-door searches for left out children.
Rotary’s commitment to end polio represents the largest private-sector support of a global health initiative ever. In 1985, Rotary members worldwide vowed to immunize all the world’s children against polio. Since then, Rotary has contributed more than US$650 million to a polio-free world. Besides raising and contributing funds, over one million men and women of Rotary have volunteered their time and personal resources to help immunize more than 2 billion children in 122 countries during national immunization campaigns .

Rotarins Join Vaccine Institute in Celebrating Sabin stamp - Apr. 2006

The Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute hosted a reception 11 April in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the issue of a U.S. postage stamp honoring Dr. Albert Sabin, who developed the oral polio vaccine. Several Rotarians were among the scores of attendees at the event.
Created from a weakened form of the poliovirus, the oral polio vaccine was licensed in the United States in the early 1960s. It is now a crucial player in the global effort to eradicate polio.
The U.S. Postal Service issued the Sabin stamp 8 March. It released another stamp the same day to recognize Dr. Jonas Salk, who created an earlier, injectable polio vaccine.
John Sever, a member of the International PolioPlus Committee who represented Rotary International at the reception, addressed the audience, noting that Sabin had advised Rotary on polio issues and supported its polio eradication advocacy efforts.
Sever and Past RI President Carlos Conseco, who are both medical researchers, worked with Sabin on an aerosol measles vaccine, which they administered in the 1980s to children in Mexico.
"Dr. Sabin was a true friend of Rotary and often said how proud he was to be an honorary Rotarian," Sever said. "Dr. Sabin astutely recognized how Rotary's drive to serve humanity could be harnessed and directed toward achieving a goal of unimaginable magnitude: the global eradication of polio."
Sabin appeared at two RI conventions. In 1980, he helped highlight the groundbreaking Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) polio immunization project in the Philippines. He also spoke at the 1985 RI Convention, where he received the Rotary Award for World Understanding and Peace and where the PolioPlus program was announced.
Sever noted that armies of volunteers, including thousands of Rotarians, have used the oral polio vaccine to immunize more than two billion children over the past 20 years.
He also congratulated Heloisa Sabin, a founding member of the vaccine institute, for carrying on her husband's legacy as an advocate for global immunization to end all vaccine-preventable diseases.
"Rotary likewise congratulates [institute] cofounder Dr. Robert Chanock, institute president Dr. Ciro de Quadros, and other members of the [organization] for the wonderful work they carry out," he said.
Sever's address was sprinkled with anecdotes that evoked Sabin's energy and devotion to polio eradication. Sabin sometimes dramatically expressed his impatience with foot dragging on polio- related decisions, Sever recalled.
Sever became friends with the vaccine developer, who died in 1993.
"My wife and I enjoyed hospitality at [the Sabins'] home in Washington and with Heloisa's family in Rio (de Janiero)," Sever said. "We have many fond memories of those relationships."

Donor Profile for Received and Confirmed Contributions, 1988-2008

As of 1 February 2005
Contribution (US$ million) Public Sector Partners Development Banks Private Sector Partners
> 500 USA Rotary International
250 — 500 Japan, United Kingdom
100 — 249 European Commission, Canada, Netherlands World Bank
50 — 99 Germany Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
25 — 49 Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden, UNICEF Regular Resources, WHO Regular Budget, United Nations Foundation
5 — 24 Australia, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Russian Federaion Inter-American Development Bank, Aventis Pasteur, IFPMA, UNICEF National Committees
1 — 4 Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Advantage Trust (HK), De Beers, Pew Charitable Trust, Wyeth

Rotary is the largest non-governmental financial contributor to the global polio eradication effort. By the time the world is certified polio-free, Rotary's contributions to the global polio eradication effort will exceed US$600 million.



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