Clem Renouf, Rotary International President in 1978-79 dreamed of eradicating Polio from the Philippines. He worked through the Philippine Health Organization, and with a Rotary Foundation Grant in 1978 the Philippine Government joined Rotary International in a 5-year project to eradicate Polio from the Philippines by immunizing all of the children. The strategy for the Philippine Project was developed, and the necessary resources were marshaled to implement the plan.
In 1979, at the Rotary Convention in Rome, Italy, when Jim Bomar was the incoming President of RI, PDG Jun Tambunting met with President Sergio Mulish of the Rotary Club of Rome. During that meeting, President Sergio announced that the ROTARIANS OF ROME was ready to help the children of the Philippines and they had 500,000 polio vaccines ready to be airlifted to the Philippines.
In a few weeks, the vaccines arrived in Manila. PDG Jun Tambunting and PDG Benny Santos were on hand to pick up the polio vaccine at the airport together with the senior officers of the Department of Health. Six months later another 500,000 vaccines were delivered, for a total of one million from Rome.
In1980-1985, after Rotary International (RI) approved the 3H program, to immunize six million children in the Philippines PDG Jun Tambunting was appointed as the 3H Chairman (Health). With the help of the Department of Health, which had the lists of children below 5 years in all barangays (villages) in the country. The Philippines was the first country to have its children immunized from Polio and other dreaded diseases.
Video source: https://vimeo.com/31740127
Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, Minister of Health of Nigeria in an interview on 7th October 2016. 60 million doses of vaccines will be administered by the end of the year. Also needs improvement in water supply and sanitation.
Jan 1 - Oct 6, 2016
26 wild polio virus 3 vaccine-derived polio virus
Jan 1 - Oct 6, 2015
44 wild polio virus 19 vaccine-derived polio virus
Celebrate World Polio Day on 24 October
In our work to end polio, we’ve noticed a disturbing development: People in many parts of the world think polio no longer exists. Even some of our members, especially younger Rotarians who were born after the development of the polio vaccine, assume that because the disease doesn’t afflict anyone in their country, it’s no longer a problem.
To make everyone aware that this disease is just an airplane ride away, Rotary started World Polio Day, held annually in October. Over the years, we have marked this occasion in various ways. Clubs have held fundraisers or lit up iconic structures in their country with the words “End Polio Now.” More recently, we created live-streamed events featuring prominent public health experts and journalists, along with some of our celebrity ambassadors.
This year, we partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which will host a live-streamed event at its headquarters in Atlanta. (Taking into consideration different time zones, the event will be immediately archived so your club may watch it at a time that is convenient.) Tom Frieden, the CDC’s director, and Jeffrey Kluger, Time magazine’s senior editor overseeing science and health reporting, will be joined by other public health experts to discuss the milestones, promising developments, and remaining challenges in the fight to eradicate polio.
But we want Rotarians to observe World Polio Day everywhere, not just in Atlanta. In fact, we would like to see at least 1,000 World Polio Day events take place throughout the world. I encourage you to host viewing parties of the live-streamed event and organize fundraisers. Be sure to register your event at www.endpolio.org/worldpolioday, where you can also find resources to help make it a success.
Polio is still out there, even though the number of cases has dropped by more than 99.9 percent since 1988. We’re almost there, but until the number of cases reaches zero, polio remains a threat to all of us. World Polio Day offers an opportunity to share that vital message with your club and your community.
In 1979, James Bomar Jr., the president of Rotary at the time, traveled to the Philippines as part of Rotary’s earliest work to immunize children against polio. After he had put drops of vaccine into one baby’s mouth, he felt a child’s hand tugging on his trouser leg to get his attention. Bomar looked down and saw the baby’s brother looking up at him, saying earnestly, “Thank you, thank you, Rotary.”
Before Rotary took on the task of polio eradication, 350,000 people – nearly all of them children – were paralyzed by polio every year. That child in the Philippines knew exactly what polio was and understood exactly what Rotary had just done for his baby brother. Today, 31 years after the launch of PolioPlus, the children of the Philippines – and of nearly every other country in the world – are growing up without that knowledge, and that fear, of polio. Instead of 1,000 new cases of polio every day, we are averaging less than one per week. But as the fear of polio wanes, so does awareness of the disease. Now more than ever, it is vitally important to keep that awareness high and to push polio eradication to the top of the public agenda and our governments’ priorities. We need to make sure the world knows that our work to eradicate polio isn’t over yet, but that Rotary is in it to end it.
On 24 October, Rotary will mark World Polio Day to help raise the awareness and the funding we need to reach full eradication. I ask all of you to take part by holding an event in your club, in your community, or online. Ideas and materials are available for download in all Rotary languages at endpolio.org/worldpolioday, and you can register your event with Rotary at the same link. You can also join me and tens of thousands of your fellow Rotarians for a live-streamed global status update at 6 p.m. Eastern time at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. I’ll be there along with CDC Director Tom Frieden, other experts, and inspirational presenters, sharing an inside look at the science, partnerships, and human stories of polio eradication.
It is an incredibly exciting time to be a Rotarian. We are gathering momentum for the final race to the finish: to the end of PolioPlus and the beginning of a polio-free world. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to End Polio Now, through Rotary Serving Humanity.
RCBSP sharing news from Rotary International and Rotary Districts and Clubs in Malaysia