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Showing posts with label Rotary Foundation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rotary Foundation. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rotary to highlight global efforts on World Polio Day 2013

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Rotary International will highlight progress in the global effort to end polio on the occasion of the annual World Polio Day to be observed on October 24.

“World Polio Day 2013 provides a golden opportunity for Rotary and its partners to build public support for the historic final push now underway to wipe out this disabling viral disease once and for all,” Rotary International’s Pakistan PolioPlus Chair, Aziz Memon, remarked.

“In Chicago, where the humanitarian service organization was founded in 1905, Rotary and Northwestern University’s Center for Global Health will convene an international panel of experts to discuss the progress of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which Rotary co-launched in 1988. The event, World Polio Day: Making History, will be streamed live to a global online audience at endpolionow.org from Northwestern University’s John Hughes Auditorium, 303 E. Superior St., Chicago, beginning at 5:30 pm. CST on October 24,” he disclosed.

The confirmed panelists included Dr Bruce Aylward, the world’s leading expert on polio eradication and assistant director-general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration at the World Health Organization; Dr. Robert Murphy, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Global Health; and U.S. Paralympian Dennis Ogbe, a polio survivor and ambassador for the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life program. An executive with Brown-Forman Co, Ogbe is originally from Nigeria, one of only three countries where the wild poliovirus has never been stopped.

Also invited is Emmy award-winning actress Archie Panjabi, one of Rotary’s End Polio Now celebrity ambassadors. In 2012, Panjabi helped Rotary volunteers immunize children in India, where she spent part of her childhood. Once considered the nation facing the most serious challenges to eradication, India was removed from the polio-endemic list in January 2012. If Panjabi is unable to attend in person, the Chicago program will include exclusive video of her work in India.

“This year, World Polio Day fundraisers will have greater impact due to the new fundraising campaign, End Polio Now: Make History Today, recently launched by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation will match two for one every new dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication up to US$35 million per year through 2018,” Aziz Memon revealed.

“World Polio Day provides an important and timely opportunity for us to let the world know that every dollar contributed to Rotary for polio eradication will work three times as hard,” Dr Robert S. Scott, MD, Chair of Rotary’s PolioPlus programme, observed in his message.

“Rotary invites everyone, private citizens, businesses, non-profits, to join us in this historic effort. Only one other human disease (smallpox) has ever been beaten. Now is our best chance ever to make polio the second,” he stressed.

Rotary clubs in every region of the world have planned an array of activities on or leading up to World Polio Day.

Rotary clubs in India planned a nationwide series of outdoor illuminations carrying Rotary’s “End Polio Now” message on World Polio Day. In January, India will celebrate three years of no new polio cases, a huge milestone for a country once considered to harbor the most serious challenges to eradication.

Scores of Rotary clubs worldwide working with local schools to organize Purple Clothes Days encouraged each student to wear a purple item of clothing and make a small donation to Rotary’s polio eradication program.

The concept began with Rotary clubs in England, inspired by the purple dye that health workers in polio-affected countries place on children’s pinky fingers to show they have received the oral polio vaccine. Similarly, many Rotary clubs in England, Kenya and elsewhere are selling fabric “purple crocus” lapel pins in support of polio eradication.

In Kenya, Rotary clubs will work with partnering agencies and the national government to use World Polio Day to launch the next round of national polio immunization activities in early November, a campaign deemed critical due to the recent outbreak of imported cases throughout the Horn of Africa.

Rotary clubs in Lagos, Nigeria, will be partnering with the Cycology Riding Club to do a six-hour relay bicycle ride to promote World Polio Day and the national immunization rounds set for early November. The event is reportedly Nigeria’s first-ever bike-a-thon.

In partnership with UNICEF, Rotary clubs in Pakistan, another polio-endemic country, on World Polio Day will begin distributing 5,000 copies of a 16-page “speaking book” that health workers and parents can use to teach young children the importance of polio vaccinations and basic hygiene. The audio version of the text is in the regional languages of Urdu and Pashto.

In Spain and Portugal, Rotary clubs are generating public support for polio eradication via the crowd-speaking platform, Thunderclap, in a campaign that concludes on World Polio Day.

Historically, Rotary had helped launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the polio eradication effort.

Overall, the annual number of new polio cases has plummeted by more than 99 percent since the 1980s, when polio infected about 350,000 children a year. Only 223 new cases were recorded for all of 2012. More than two billion children have been immunized in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 deaths. Polio today remains endemic in only three countries, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, although “imported” cases in previously polio-free areas, such as the Horn of Africa, will continue to occur until the virus is finally stopped in the endemic countries.

Rotary is a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary’s 1.2 million members hail from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rotary’s ‘End Polio Now’ campaign illuminates Frere Hall

By Rtn Mohammad Nazakat Ali

The historic building of Frere Hall in Karachi was illuminated with great fanfare on February 17 as a part of the awareness drive launched by Rotary International’s Pakistan National Polio Plus Committee.

The Committee’s National Chair, Aziz Memon, informed the dignitaries and the media corps present on the occasion that the illumination ceremony was a part of an annual tradition in which community-based Rotary clubs illuminate landmarks and iconic structures around the world with the humanitarian group’s pledge to eradicate polio, a crippling childhood disease.

Besides the historic Frere Hall in Karachi, another famous building in Pakistan, the distinctly modern WAPDA House at Lahore will glow brightly with Rotary’s illuminated message ’End Polio Now’ on February 23.

The lighting ceremony in neighboring India is perhaps the most symbolic of the progress made by Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. In January, India, until recently an epicenter of the crippling disease, reached a historic milestone by marking a full year without recording a single new polio case.

Other illumination sites this year include the City Government Building in Taipei, Taiwan (Feb. 23-25); Melbourne’s Federation Square, one of southern Australia’s top tourist draws (Feb. 25-27); Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Tokyo’s fifth tallest building (Feb. 20); and Pal├ício Garibaldi, a neo-classical architectural treasure in Curitiba, Brazil (Feb. 23).

Significantly, India’s success sends a message of hope across the border to Pakistan, one of the last remaining polio-endemic countries (the others are Nigeria and Afghanistan).

In 2011 Pakistan reported 198 polio cases; Afghanistan 80; Nigeria 57 and India 1. Worldwide, fewer than 650 polio cases have been confirmed for 2011, less than half the 1,352 infections reported in 2010.
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Overall, the annual number of polio cases has plummeted by more than 99 percent since the initiative was launched in 1988, when polio infected about 350,000 children a year. More than two billion children have been immunized in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 deaths.

“These global illuminations carry Rotary’s pledge to end polio—saying to the world that we will fight this crippling disease to the end,” says Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee, a native of India. “But we are not there yet. Rotary and our partners will continue to immunize children until our goal of a polio-free world is achieved. And we must remain vigilant against a resurgence of this terrible disease.”

Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than US$1 billion to polio eradication, including nearly $190,000 raised by the 3,120 members of Pakistan’s 150 Rotary clubs. Rotary International has provided almost $73 million in grants for polio eradication activities in Pakistan.

Todate, the government of Pakistan has provided nearly $50 million in domestic resources. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have made polio eradication a national priority by launching the National Emergency Action Plan in 2011 and an Augmented Action Plan for 2012, aimed at increasing the capacity and effectiveness of the polio immunization programme with Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali having been appointed as the Focal Person of the Prime Minister’s Task Force Committee.

In January, Rotary leaders announced Rotary clubs worldwide had raised more than $200 million in response to a $355 million challenge grant from the Gates Foundation, which in turn contributed an additional $50 million in recognition of Rotary’s commitment. All of the resulting $605 million will be spent in support of immunization activities in Pakistan and other polio-affected countries.

“Rotary continues to be the heart-and-soul of polio eradication,” Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates wrote in his annual letter issued in January.

The other spearheading partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rotary is a global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary members are men and women who are business, professional and community leaders with a shared commitment to make the world a better place through humanitarian service. Rotary’s top priority is the global eradication of polio.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rotary helps flood victims in Pakistan: Aziz Memon

By Mohammad Nazakat Ali

“From raising funds to distributing life-saving shelters, the Rotary clubs worldwide, together with the local clubs, are proactively assisting flood victims in Pakistan day and night to help those in need.”

This was observed by Mr Aziz Memon, Chairman, National Polio Committee, Rotary International, who has remained the Governor of the Rotary clubs in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the other day.

“The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, one of the largest humanitarian service organizations in the world, is accepting member contributions to its Pakistan Flooding Recovery Fund to support long-term recovery in the affected areas, which have sustained billions of dollars in damage according to the Pakistani government,” he disclosed.

“The Rotary clubs are also providing immediate humanitarian assistance to flood victims, which the United Nations estimates to be more than 17.2 million people. The Rotary members in both Pakistan and Afghanistan are working together besides facilitating the international clubs,” Mr Aziz Memon said.

“Among the first international relief to reach flood victims in Pakistan was ShelterBox. a UK-based disaster response organization supported by Rotary clubs worldwide. More than 1,900 ShelterBox tents and 600 ShelterBox kits, each containing a 10-person tent, a water purification system and other survival necessities for up to six months, were pre-positioned in Pakistan in June following predictions of a particularly bad monsoon season,” the Rotary official added.

In partnership with the French Embassy Islamabad and National Disaster Management Authority Pakistan, Rotary members distributed the ShelterBox kits to the hardest hit areas.

John Leach, ShelterBox Head of Operations, said: “The need for shelter in Pakistan is growing by the day. We need to get more aid in as quickly as possible. By working with our international partners we can make this happen.”

ShelterBox is sending 5,000 water filtration units and 2,500 water containers to flooded areas. More ShelterBox kits are due to arrive in Pakistan soon.

A Rotary club in Houston, Texas, USA, filled two 40-foot shipping containers with relief supplies, and is coordinating with Rotary clubs in Pakistan to deliver them to Karachi, where local clubs will help distribute the goods.

A Rotary club in Multan, Pakistan has established five flood relief camps at local hospitals. Rotary members are collecting tents, household items, food, and medicine.

Experts warn of a second wave of deaths from water-borne diseases such as cholera unless flood victims have access to supplies of fresh drinking water. World Water Works, a Rotary-club sponsored relief organization that provides disaster victims with water purification tools, has sent more than 600 boxes to the southern province of Sindh. Hugo Pike, chair of World Water Works and a member of the Rotary club in Avon, England, says each box contains a water purification kit that can supply each member of a family of four with about 2 quarts of drinking water every day for a year.

Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary’s global membership is approximately 1.2 million men and women who belong to more than 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.