As we begin the final year of the decade on January 1, 2020, let’s stop and take a look at Rotary International’s effort in its continuing fight to eradicate polio worldwide. As mentioned in previous newsletters, 2019 was not a good year in the fight to contain polio.  As of January 22, 2020, the number of reported cases of wild poliovirus in 2019 was 165 cases, 29 in Afghanistan and 136 in Pakistan.  This is a significant jump from the 33 reported cases in all of 2018. Additionally, there were 280 cases of vaccine derived polio, 36 in endemic countries and 244 in non endemic countries.  Clearly, despite monumental progress in the fight to eliminate this disease over the years, much work remains to be done and Rotary International and its partners will need to double and triple its efforts in problem areas around the world. Perhaps eradicating polio seems like an unwinnable battle, but keep in mind if countries like China and India can, with their massive populations, conquer polio then the rest of the world can and will as well. If we stop now within 10 years there surely will be a return to 300,000 plus cases per year.  Please keep up your generous donations to the End Polio Now – Make History Today campaign.  Your investment in this battle will be matched by the Gates Foundation at the rate of $2 for $1 making your $100 donation worth $300.
As a final thought, there has already been one (1) case of the wild poliovirus reported in 2020, with the onset of paralysis occurring on January 3, 2020.  So it will be at least that date in 2021 before the possibility even exists of going one year with no cases of polio.