Rotary International and its partners are on track to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio), Nana Gyamfi Acheampong, President, Rotary Club of Accra-Airport, has said.
He said Rotary’s determination of Polio free world had energised governments, non-governmental organisations, civil society, and individual donors.
Nana Gyamfi Acheampong said this at a Fundraising Breakfast Meeting to support Polio Fund, as part of activities marking World Polio Day.
Polio is a highly infectious viral disease that largely affects children under 5 years of age.
The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.
The World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
The theme for World Polio Day 2020 is “Stories of Progress: Past and Present.”
The Day is observed on October 24 every year to raise awareness for polio vaccination and eradication of polio.
Nana Gyamfi Acheampong recalled that Rotary International in 1979 got involved in the eradication of Polio when it committed to providing OPV to six million children in the Philippines.
He said the success of the programme led to Rotary International’s determination to immunise all children across the globe against Polio.
Nana Gyamfi Acheampong noted that on the 40th anniversary of the United Nation, Rotary International announced a $120 million pledge to its Polio Plus programme; adding that, that brought to the fore the awareness of Polio and its debilitating effect on children.
He said Rotary had since supported the effort with resources, advocacy, and genuine hard work on the ground.
Nana Gyamfi Acheampong said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dangote Foundation, and a host of philanthropists had joined to eradicate the canker.
He recounted that the Rotary Club of Accra-Airport in support of the global project launched “Arise for Polio Fund Raising Breakfast Meeting” two years ago.
Nana Gyamfi Acheampong said the project had been sustained for three years as a flagship project to constantly remind members of the Club and its partners of the determination of Rotary International to eradicate Polio.
Dr Neema Rusibamayila Akimambo, Acting WHO Country Representative to Ghana, said once polio was eradicated, the world could celebrate the delivery of a major global public good that would benefit all people equally, no matter where they lived.
She said economic modelling had found that the eradication of polio would save at least $ 40–50 billion, mostly in low-income countries.
Dr Akimambo said most importantly, success would mean that no child would ever again suffer the terrible effects of lifelong polio-paralysis.
She congratulated Rotarians all over the world, the Rotary Club of Ghana and the Ghana National Polio Plus Committee of Rotary International for the continued and dedicated support to get polio out of the world.