• The latest figures reflecting the status of polio in the world are disappointing. Globally there has been 28 cases of WPV (wild polio virus) and 98 cases of cVDPV (circulating vaccine derived polio virus) reported as of December 4th.  This time last year there were 16 cases of WPV and 80 cases of cVDPV.   
  • To address this, the 19th IHR (International Health Regulations) Emergency Committee including members, advisers, and invited member states convened to discuss the status of the international spread of poliovirus. The Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of polio spread continues to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and proposed an extension of Temporary Recommendations for an additional three months. The Committee expressed concern that complacency to achieving a polio-free world could now become the biggest risk to the effort and urged that all countries and partners regard polio eradication as an emergency.  “We have the tools, we need to focus on what works, we need to get to every child,” commented Prof. Helen Rees, Chairperson of the Committee.  “The reality is that there is no reason why we should not be able to finish this job, but we have to keep at it.”  Prof. Rees and the Committee urged countries, donors and partners to continue their support, until a polio-free world is achieved, cautioning that failure to eradicate polio would lead to global resurgence of the disease, with potentially as many as 200,000 new cases occurring annually within ten years.  “We have achieved eradication of a disease once before, with smallpox,” Rees concluded.  “The world is a much better place without smallpox.  It’s now more urgent than ever that we redouble our efforts and finish this job once and for all as well.”  

Despite an increase in cases, Rotary International continues to make progress in countries where polio is a threat to children.  – It is using innovative techniques to reach more children than ever before in some of the hardest-to-reach areas of the world, and its surveillance systems are continually becoming more sophisticated. -  As the organization that first had the vision of a world without polio, it can take pride in its work and commitment thus far.   It will continue to persevere until the day it fulfills its promise of a polio-free world.”


Thank you for your continued and dedicated support.  


There will be no Foundation Minutes for the weeks of December 24 and 31st.  They will resume on January 4 – Have a happy holiday season and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.