Polio Update 2023

Many of us involved in polio eradication efforts had high hopes the world would see the last child paralyzed by wild polio virus
Picture of Jane Falls

Jane Falls

AG and past president Springfield

Reprinted from Big West News

Calendar Year or “Rotary Year” – it can be confusing, especially when reporting statistics related to polio. GPEI, the CDC, and WHO report Polio case numbers using the calendar year; yet in Rotary we report dollars raised to End Polio using the Rotary year (July 1 through June 30).

It is useful to periodically assess where we are with both. Many of us involved in polio eradication efforts had high hopes the world would see the last child paralyzed by wild polio virus sometime in this calendar year, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened.

As of mid-December, 12 cases of wild poliovirus-causing paralysis were reported (6 in Afghanistan and 6 In Pakistan) and 129 environmental samples positivefor wild polio virus were reported.

It can take up to a month or more to confirm that a person’s acute flaccid paralysis was caused by polio, so statistics for 2023 are not finalized. On the other hand, Rotarians in the Big West are being even more generous with their donations to Polio Plus during the first half of this Rotary year when compared with the same time period last year.

Thank you! Your support is more critical than ever in order to eradicate this horrible disease once and for all. We must stay the course

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for the update. It seems that we have been observing these unexpected cases in Afghanistan and Pakistan for many years. What are the reasons for these outbreaks. Are there actions these countries public health agencies should be taking but they are not? If so, what can the rest of the world do about it?

  2. Thank you for your question. Yes, polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan remains a persistent and challenging issue. The reason are numerous and include continued poor sanitation and clean water and concern about Western medicine. That said, there is incredibly good news with the political and religious leadership in both Pakistan and Afghanistan that offer tremendous hope we will in fact see the changes needed to finally rid those countries of polio. The Taliban in Afghanistan is now embracing and educating about the importance and safety of polio vaccinations. The religious leaders of Pakistan are doing the same. These changes have tremendous potential of bringing an end to polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Check out these two short videos:
    “The fight to end polio in Afghanistan’: https://polioeradication.org/news-post/video-polio-in-afghanistan/
    ‘Religious Leaders Change Misconceptions’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3sH4L5pHtY

    Rotary and our partners in the Global Eradication Initiative will not stop until we achieve a polio free world.
    To learn more check out the following excellent links: https://polioeradication.org/

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