25024022: Trustee Chair's message - February 2014
- Jan 31, 2014Trustee Chair's message - February 2014
The last hurdle.
In 1985, we made a promise. We promised that we would eradicate polio, no matter how long it took. We have never backed away from that promise, even though the job has been much harder, and taken much longer, than we first thought.
Because of Rotary and its partners, the world has seen a 99 percent drop in the number of polio cases: from 350,000 children paralyzed every year to 223 in 2012. This progress is significant.
We are now combating an outbreak of polio in the Horn of Africa. Cases of polio were found in Syria. We all recognize that this presents a new and significant challenge to the process of eradication. The political and humanitarian situation in Syria is difficult, and responding to this outbreak will be difficult as well.
We have been told many times that we cannot end polio, that we will never do it. But we know better. We will conquer this challenge, as we have conquered so many before. We will stop these new outbreaks. And we will continue to fight polio until we have reached every last child. To do all this requires tremendous resources.
Right now, we have a funding gap of US$1.5 billion over the next five years. To eradicate polio, that gap must be filled. We are not alone in this fight. We will not be the only ones to help find these new funds. This must be the responsibility of every country and every government. A polio-free world is within our grasp.
All of us must be ambassadors for polio eradication. Every Rotarian should lead by example by making a donation. And we need to make sure that every Rotarian, in every Rotary club, understands that we are truly this close to ending polio – and that every Rotarian understands that this is our chance to make history together.
If we can summon the will and the determination in this final hour, we will have written Rotary into the pages of history forever
Dong Kurn (D.K.) Lee
Trustee Chair 2013-14
Source: Rotary International