Posted by Amina Sammo on Jun 28, 2019
 
DG Sandi and President Amina at PETS
 
 
Latest update regarding the Polio Eradication
 
Dear Rotary Polio Eradication Leaders: 
Before the rush of Rotary year end activities, I wish to give you a brief update on polio matters:
 
The polio case count continues to increase and this week it will be officially reported that we are at the same level as in all of 2018, 33 cases. But let us put this in perspective: We have experienced 4 straight years with less than 100 cases and the final cases are in some of the toughest areas for mistrust and for lack of access due to anti-government elements.
 
The news from Africa continues to be very good. In September we will have gone three years without a case of wild polio virus on the entire continent. The Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication for the AFRO Region will be meeting in March 2020 to consider whether the area is to be certified as free of the wild polio virus. Congratulations to all the countries in this region on your progress.
 
How will we know Africa is polio free? As part of the funding round from Rotary approved by the Rotary Foundation Trustees this month, Rotary is funding all surveillance in the AFRO region for the quarter beginning 1 October 2019. This grant of US$7.2 million will support surveillance activities in 45 countries and 5 regional centers. We are also funding in the amount of US$ 5.4 million for surveillance in 11 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean WHO region. Rotary is also resuming the direct funding of vaccines. US$ 2.2 million was just approved for oral polio vaccine for Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and US$ 4 million for Afghanistan. In total, the Trustees approved over $US 50 million to WHO and UNICEF for the eradication of polio.
 
More good news is that the Global Certification Commission is now considering whether to certify the world free of Type 3 Polio. There have been no cases since November 2012. A decision is anticipated later this year. 
 
We still have cases of vaccine derived polio with 12 reported so far this year with 2/3rds of them in Nigeria. Attacking these outbreaks is costly and has strained the budget of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
 
Contributions are lagging a bit from Rotary Clubs and Rotarians. We need further support to reach the goal of $50 million in cash and DDF before 30 June. As polio eradication is Rotary’s top humanitarian objective, we hope to see all clubs participate.
 
Our advocacy to governments for their support continues to bring results. There has been recent positive progress from the United Kingdom, the United States, the UAE and India is notable for totally supporting sustaining its status as polio free. A new pledging moment will occur in Abu Dhabi in November.
 
Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to see outbreaks, positive environmental samples and new cases. Three large provinces in Afghanistan have suspended all immunizations. Pakistan had a difficult immunization round two months ago impacted by false attacks on social media. A round of immunizations that began on 17 June initially appear to have overcome much of the previous attacks.
 
Thank you to all the polio leaders and contributors in clubs, districts and globally who are working together as a team to fulfill our promise of a polio free world.
 
Gratefully,
 
Sandi Schwartz
District 5240 Governor
2018-2019
 
 
 
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