Thousands bolster hopes for polio eradication at Mumbai summit
Rotary International President Richard D. King inaugurated Rotary's
PolioPlus Summit on 22-24 February in Mumbai, India. Attended by some
Rotarians, government officials, and world health leaders, the
focused on efforts to eradicate polio in South Asia.
As one of the last remaining polio-endemic areas of the world, South
especially India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan is a main concern of
polio eradication partners. In 2001, India reported 262 cases of
Pakistan 114, and Afghanistan 11 cases. Combined, these countries
nearly 70 percent of the world's polio cases last year.
"One would wonder why so many from other areas of the world are
conference on eradicating polio in South Asia," said President
King. "But I
learned after September 11 that no one is immune from the problems of
and I have a new interest in community activity to help solve
Coming from countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Ghana, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Japan, Argentina, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, and host nation India, the summit attendees also
a Sub-National Immunization Day (SNID).
For the grand opening of the SNID, President King lit a flame to
Rotary's unwavering commitment to polio eradication, and along with
lady Cherie King, immunized a child against polio. In addition, the
president, together with Rotary Foundation Chairman Luis Vicente
International PolioPlus Committee Chairman William T. Sergeant, and
Foundation Trustee Kalyan Banerjee, unveiled a 100-kilometer (0.62-
long polio-eradication banner.
Featured speaker Dr. Bruce Aylward, coordinator for the Global Polio
Eradication Initiative for WHO, spoke on the global status and
challenges to eradicating polio in South Asia and worldwide. "Just
years ago, polio was endemic throughout most of India. Thanks to the
extraordinary efforts of the Government of India and its partners,
just two remaining endemic states. With continued effort, it will
zero," he said. "Rotary International has played a huge role in this
success, through its commitment to immunize every child against
The summit participants also celebrated Rotary's 97th birthday. "As
we have done for the children of the world with PolioPlus, we have
enhanced Rotary," said President King. "I cannot think of a better
celebrate our 97th anniversary than by focusing our efforts on
this crippling disease."
Courtesy: Rotary International News Basket 747 - 27 February 2002