Pickens Rotary Club collecting money to help end threat of polio

PICKENS — When Rotary began the fight in 1985 to eliminate polio worldwide polio affected 350,000 people, mostly children, in 125 countries every year. Since then, polio cases have dropped by more than 99 percent.

Since 1988, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 a year to fewer than 700 cases in 2011. The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, the Western Pacific region in 2000, and Europe in 2002. A highly infectious disease, polio still strikes children mainly under the age of five in parts of Africa and South Asia. Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. There is no cure for polio, but for as little as 60 cents worth of oral vaccine, a child can be protected from the disease for life.

To date, Rotary has contributed $1.3 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than two billion children. After nearly 30 years, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (a public-private partnership that includes Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) stands on the brink of history by making polio only the second human disease to be stopped forever.

Case numbers of the disease have never been lower, and only three countries (Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan) have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus. In early 2014, Rotary celebrated on of the world’s greatest achievements in global health: India being declared polio free. Their success proves that polio can be stopped in even the most challenging conditions.

The remaining 1 percent of polio cases are the most difficult to prevent due to factors such as geographical location, poor public infra-structure, armed conflict, and cultural barriers.

If we can eliminate polio from the planet, dozens of other diseases could follow.  This is a historic moment, and one that is meaningful to people – especially children – the world over. We can end polio now! Don’t miss this moment in history. Learn how you can do your part at

Pickens Rotary Club will be raising money to end polio through various fundraisers in 2014-2015. Go to to find out more.

Rotary is a humanitarian service organization with nearly 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.