In August, the U.S. had its first confirmed polio case since 1979. Similarly, recent wastewater samples in Jerusalem, Israel, and London, UK, indicate community transmission in regions without new cases of polio in numerous decades. For years we have been aware that polio is just a plane ride away and that polio anywhere is a threat everywhere. And while this concept was never difficult to understand, it has gained much more traction recently as we’ve seen viruses go…well, viral.
Our understanding of the borderless nature of viruses has increased, but so too has misinformation and disinformation about vaccines. This, combined with complacency and the perception that polio is no longer a significant health threat, countries that have been polio-free for decades are now seeing pockets of vulnerability.
This should be a wake-up call for all of us.
And now is not the time to give up.
World Polio Day is October 24, and we invite all Rotary and Rotaract clubs to show their support by registering their participation on endpolio.org.
Whether it’s hosting an event or a fundraiser, raising awareness of the importance of polio immunization on social media, or making a simple presentation during a meeting, it’s important to show that we’re making a difference. And you don’t have to wait until October 24 to show how you participate. Here are some ideas:
- Polio conference: Bring in doctors or health experts to give a presentation or be part of a panel on polio transmission, vaccination, and eradication.
- Club presentation: Give a short presentation to your club members at the meeting nearest to October 24.
- Light show in your city: Raise awareness in an innovative and unique way by projecting the End Polio Now logo on buildings, theaters, or other landmarks in your city.
- Stand in a market, shopping mall, or public square with members wearing End Polio Now t-shirts or banners. You can also organize a walk or bike ride with other clubs, districts, or local organizations.
- Fundraiser for PolioPlus: Hold a dinner or a concert. Use Raise for Rotary or Facebook Fundraiser. You can also make a club donation directly to PolioPlus. Booths, shows, and charity sporting events are other good ways to raise funds.
- Social media campaign: Partner with other Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact clubs in your city to promote the important role Rotary plays in the fight against polio. Each club can register its participation independently, whether it’s a few posts or a full campaign.
What about promotion?
- Go to www.endpolio.org/world-polio-day to download useful resources.
- Register your support and participation on www.endpolio.org/register-your-event for a chance to be featured on Rotary’s social channels.
- Post information on social media using the hashtag #endpolio.
- Follow Rotary on Facebook and Twitter to share information.
- Follow End Polio Now on Facebook and Twitter for polio updates.