Rotary International has announced grants totaling $49.5 million in support of efforts to completely eradicate polio.
According to Rotary, there have been only twelve confirmed new cases of polio in the world this year. To address the disease in the three countries where it is still endemic, the organization awarded nearly $26 million in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's efforts in Afghanistan ($9.32 million), Pakistan ($8.94 million), and Nigeria ($7.71 million). In addition, the organization allocated grants through GPEI to six vulnerable countries that are now polio-free, including Chad ($2.37 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($4.5 million), Guinea ($961,000), Somalia ($1.62 million), South Sudan ($3.77 million), and Sudan ($2.56 million). An additional $7.74 million will go to monitor GPEI's activities in Africa and the eastern Mediterranean region.
Working in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary will host its fifth annual World Polio Day on October 24 in Seattle. To help raise awareness of and additional funds for polio eradication, Rotary Clubs around the world will host nearly nineteen hundred events on the 24th, including golf outings, concerts, a soccer game in Cairo, and the placing of End Polio Now piggy banks in local businesses in Viljoenskroon, South Africa.
"Rotary and its partners are closer than ever to eradicating polio," said Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary's International PolioPlus Committee. "World Polio Day is the ideal opportunity to celebrate our successes, raise public awareness, and talk about what is needed to end this paralyzing disease for good."