THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Rotary International commends U.S. on contributions to end polio

Rotary International recognized five members from the U.S. Polio Eradication Champions on Wednesday at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. for their contributions to end polio.

The event took place at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. and commended 2013 U.S. honorees Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Senator Johnny Isaakson of Georgia, Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia, Representative Jim McDermott of Washington and Representative Jim Moran of Virginia for their key roles and contributions to polio eradication.

Rotary established the Polio Eradication Champion Award in 1995 to recognize leaders in the fight against polio. There are currently 37 members of the 113th Congress previously named as champions.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative has announced a plan to eradicate the disease entirely by 2018, which would make it the second disease to be eradicated after smallpox if successful. The plan requires $5.5 billion in funding to be successful and over $4 billion has been pledged thus far.

Rotary asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development to pledge $200 million in funding to this cause in 2014. Over the course of 30 years the U.S. government has contributed over $2.1 billion to polio eradication.

"Thanks in great part to the support of the U.S. government, the world stands on the cusp of a historic victory over polio," Jim Lacy, chair of the U.S. Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force and past Rotary president said. "The leadership and support of present and past Polio Eradication Champions has been crucial to ensuring that every child is protected against this preventable disease. Together, we can ensure that no child will ever again suffer the crippling effects of polio."

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