Rotary battles polio globally |

Rotary battles polio globally

Recently The Union ran an Associated Press article on the increase in polio cases in India. Unfortunately, there was much to the story that didn’t appear in the article.

In the mid-1980s, Rotary Clubs around the world came together and committed to eradicating polio from the face of the earth. Rotary is a worldwide humanitarian organization working in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to accomplish this ambitious task by 2005.

When Rotary began this polio immunization program, about 1,000 children were infected by this crippling disease every day. Last year, only 480 cases of polio were reported, in only 10 countries – a far cry from the estimated 350,000 cases found in 125 countries in 1988.

Consider … the polio global eradication initiative is the largest public health program in history; polio cases have fallen by 99 percent since 1988.

Be assured that the 2,251 Rotary Clubs of India, and the 28,000 Rotary Clubs from elsewhere throughout the world are not napping when it comes to polio eradication. Though Rotary has contributed countless volunteer hours and $493 million worldwide, an estimated a $275 million is still needed to snuff out polio in the final 10 countries where it still exists.

Members of the Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley communities have recently been generous in this effort. Local Rotarians have solicited community support in the effort to get just two drops of polio vaccine to every child in those final 10 countries.

The community came through, stuffing our donation cans with coins and cash at the Fourth of July parade, the County Fair, Nevada County Airfest and street fairs in Nevada City and Grass Valley. Thank you to everyone who donated to this cause. Many local merchants have provided space for these cans in their shops as well. Watch for one and donate what you can.

If you’d like more information about polio eradication, contact a local Rotarian or visit

Pete Brost

assistant governor

on behalf of 300 Rotarians and five local Rotary Clubs

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