Contribution to Polio Plus

The Rotary Club of Thibodaux at its regular meeting on August 19, 2016 approved a Rotary year-end contribution of $2,650, to be sent to Rotary International to be designated for Polio Plus. This amount from the Club is 100 times that pledged by the Rotary Club of Kansas City in Kansas City, MO in 1917. The 100 times factor is in commemoration of the 100th year of the Rotary Foundation.

Poliomyelitis (polio) is an incurable, paralyzing, and potentially fatal disease that invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. Although it can strike at any age, it mainly affects children under five and although incurable, it is vaccine-preventable.

The Polio Plus program, launched by Rotary in 1985, is aimed at eradicating polio worldwide through the mass vaccination of children. Through the efforts of Rotary and its partners (the World Health Organization, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention,  UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world), the disease is now still found in three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. It has been eradicated globally except for the 75 cases confirmed worldwide in 2015. This is a reduction of more than 99.9% since the 1980s, when 1,000 cases were seen per day across the world.

The few remaining cases are the most difficult to prevent due to factors such as geographical isolation, poor public infrastructure, armed conflict and cultural barriers. In spite of these challenges, Rotary feels that we are very, very close to total eradication of this dreaded disease and looks forward to the day (hopefully real soon) when we can celebrate complete success.