It our pleasure to announce to you that the African region has just been certified wild poliovirus-free.
Rotary members have played an invaluable role in the effort to rid the African region of wild polio. We should be proud of all the hard work that we’ve done to eliminate the wild poliovirus throughout Africa and in nearly every country in the world.
This progress is the result of a decades-long effort across the 47 countries of the African region. It has involved millions of health workers traveling by foot, boat, bike and bus, innovative strategies to vaccinate children amid conflict and insecurity, and a huge disease surveillance network to test cases of paralysis and check sewage for the virus.
Over the last two decades, countless Rotary members in countries across the African region and around the world have worked together to raise funds, immunize children, advocate with local and national leaders, and raise awareness about the importance of vaccination, enabling the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to effectively respond to and stop polio outbreaks.
This milestone is an incredible public health achievement for Rotary members, the African region, and our GPEI partners, and a huge step forward on the road to global polio eradication. But we still have important work to do in order to eradicate wild polio in the last two endemic countries.
We have faced many challenges in our journey to eradicate polio. But we’ve made remarkable progress, and the polio infrastructure that Rotarians helped build will serve as a lasting legacy that will continue to help protect vulnerable children against other diseases for decades to come.
We are calling on you today to recommit yourselves to ending polio. We need each and every one of you to help finish this fight and continue raising $50 million each year for PolioPlus. The eradication of wild polio in the African region shows us that polio eradication is achievable, and shows how our hard work, partnerships and financial commitment continue to propel us forward, even during a global pandemic.
Thank you for your continued efforts, for achieving a wild polio-free African region, and for remaining committed to fulfilling our promise of a polio-free world.
Holger Knaack K.R. Ravindran
President, Rotary International Chair, The Rotary Foundation
Rotary International President Holger Knaack and Nigeria National PolioPlus Chair Dr. Tunji Funsho congratulate Rotarians on eradicating wild polio in the African Region. Watch here.