The ninth annual World Polio Day was celebrated Oct. 24 by Solvang Rotary Club and other clubs around the world. The City of Solvang issued a proclamation on Oct. 11 at its City Council meeting recognizing the club for its fundraising efforts towards the international PolioPlus Campaign.
Rotary International launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1985 to eradicate polio. Polio is a virus that spreads by person-to-person contact, typically through contaminated water. It can attack the nervous system, and in some instances leads to paralysis. Polio mainly affects children under the age of 5. Partners in the eradication effort include Rotary, the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since 1988, there’s been a worldwide reduction in polio cases of 99.9%. According to the Rotary Club, although cases are down, if the global campaign ceases because of lack of funds, it would take less than 10 years for polio to return to pandemic levels. As many as 200,000 new cases of polio each year would exist in countries which have long been free of the disease, the organization said. It is estimated, a polio-free world will save the global economy $40 billion to $50 billion in health costs within the next 20 years.
Solvang Rotary Club encourages all citizens to join in the fight for a polio-free world. For more information or to donate, go to endpolio.org
Rotary International has grown to 1.3 million members comprised of professional and business leaders in over 33,000 clubs in 172 countries. In the Santa Ynez Valley, there are 100 Rotary Club members in four clubs; Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez Valley and Solvang. These clubs are part of Rotary District 5240. For more information or to learn how to get involved, go to the district website: rotarydistrict5240.org or the Solvang Rotary Club website at: solvangrotary.com