, NAIROBI, Kenya May 18 – Rotary International has set out an ambitious programme that will see all children in the world immunised against polio.
Under the Polio Plus programme, the charity organisation will immunise over two billion children across 122 countries at a time when statistics indicate a sharp in polio cases worldwide, a statement from the organisation said on Monday.
The program has so far realised contributions worth more than US$600 million and thousands of volunteers towards the cause.
Speaking during the just concluded 84th Rotary 9200 District conference and assembly at the United Nations Headquarters Gigiri, Rotary International District Governor Kaushik Manek said this commitment represented the largest private-sector support of a global health initiative so far.
“One of Rotary International’s key goals is the eradication of polio and since 1985 when Rotary adopted this as one of its key goals and has committed millions of dollars towards eradicating this tenacious disease,” Mr Manek said.
More than 1000 participants from more than 10 countries discussed issues affecting children, including empowering children to prevent disability, children at risk, and the resurfacing of Polio.
Preventing disabilities has also been a highlight of the Rotary projects. Since the new “Persons with Disabilities Act 2003” received presidential assent on 31 December 2003, the Rotary Clubs in Kenya has been supporting the Jaipur Foot Project throughout East Africa, through providing crutches, wheelchairs, tricycles, surgical shoes, continuous medical care and a repair service using volunteer doctors and counsellors.
“Rotary International has entered into a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to raise over US$555m to support immunisation campaigns in developing countries. With the recent emergence of polio cases in parts of East Africa, this initiative is so important for our District,” added Mr Manek.
The Rotarians have raised nearly Sh70 million and fit more than 9,000 amputees since the workshop was founded in 1990. The program has expanded to fit war-wounded and other amputees in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Rwanda, and most recently in Burundi.
Approximately one million people die every year because of malaria, and 90 percent of the death cases are in Africa. As the government takes measures to handle malaria, the conference also analysed the impact of malaria in District 9200 and will also see a discussion on the vision to create a HIV – Free generation in Kenya.
Rotary International is a worldwide volunteer organization, of business and professional leaders, who provide humanitarian service, and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. To foster fellowship through diversity of interests, a Rotary club is composed of one representative of each business and profession, in a community. Established in Chicago, Illinois in 1905, Rotary is the oldest service club organization in the world.
It is comprised of more than 1.2 million members, belonging to more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in nearly 170 countries.]
The conference, dubbed ‘make dreams real’, also featured tree planting ceremony at the UN complex and children immunization against Polio. The conference was addressed by various speakers including Honourable Kenneth Marende – Speaker of the National Assembly, The United Nations Environmental Program – Africa Regional Office Director, Dr Mounkaila Goumandakoye, Mr Linus Gitahi – Chief Executive Officer of the Nation Media Group, The World Health Organization’s Kenya representative, Dr. David Okello among other business and professional speakers