In 1985 Rotary began a project to rid the world of Poliomyelitis. The older generation will recall the rows of Iron Lungs and the badly affected children aswell as many deaths. We have the vaccine that works for now. However the longer poloio stays around the more likely it is to develop vaccine resistant strains and we wil be back with the terrible disease again. We need to eradicate it quickly.
In conjunction with the Bill Gates Foundation the eradication project is now almost complete. Many millions of dollars have now been pledged to eradicate the disease completely. However, the news has been unsettling since the start of 2014 with 24 cases of polio reported in the first two months of the year, 21 of which were in Pakistan. The main area of concern is the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This area is considered to be the ‘engine’ for polio transmission in the country: immunisation activities have been suspended by local leaders since June 2012. It is critical that children in all areas are vaccinated and protected from the virus. Immunisations in neighbouring high-risk areas are being intensified in order to boost population immunity levels in those areas and prevent further spread. No cases have been reported this year from Afghanistan. Sub-Immunisation days (targeted areas only) were carried out 9-11 Feb in selected southern and eastern districts as well as in Kabul. No cases have been reported in Nigeria this year. Last year there were 53 cases and of these only 6 were reported since September 2013. Four of these were in Kano. A National Immunisation is planned for later in March. There have been no cases reported in West Africa. An NID is planned for Niger 13-16 March and multi country NID’s in April and May. In Syria there have been targeted immunisation days in January and February – with over 3 million children being reached in January (85% coverage). WHO and UNICEF are committed to providing humanitarian relief to as many Syrians as possible. This includes vaccination of all children, no matter where they are found. The objective is to stop the circulation of the wild polio virus by the end of March 2014. The end is insight – but we have still the sprint to the finishing tape.
There are more details on the web site below:
see www.polioeradication.org/Dataandmonitoring/Poliothisweek.aspx for the very latest news of our efforts to eradicate polio
Bill Gates is to use the system developed with Polio Plus, as a model for fighting other diseases, and Malaria is being tackled. Computer modelling helps to target those areas where the effort wil give the greatest result for mankind. Once again Rotary leads the way. See www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Health/Malaria