Join us in celebrating World Polio Day

By Amanda Peet, actress and vaccine ambassador for Every Child By Two

Today is World Polio Day. To most Americans this day of observance will quietly slip under the radar; and understandably so. Here in America, our children are protected from this horrible disease, which prior to the development of a polio vaccine in 1955, paralyzed up to 20,000 and killed nearly 1,000 of our citizens each year. Most of the victims who survived polio were young children, many who remained in iron lungs for a lifetime. Today, polio remains endemic in only three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) and in 2011, less than 700 cases were reported. This is a reduction of more than 99 percent since 1985.

We are so close to wiping this crippling disease from the face of the earth – FOREVER!  And that’s where you and I come into the picture. A $700 million funding gap threatens to undermine all the progress achieved in eradicating polio.

For as little as 60 cents, a child can be vaccinated against polio and be protected for life. This September, Rotary International announced a funding commitment of $75 million over the next three years. To date, Rotary members have contributed nearly $1.2 billion to the polio eradication effort, but they need our help to help close the enormous funding gap that threatens to let polio squeeze back through the door. Public health experts fear that if eradication efforts stall now, polio could rebound quickly, potentially paralyzing 250,000 precious children each  year.

Our voices can help ensure that both U.S. and global partners keep up their commitments toward polio eradication. So what can we do? Visit endpolionow.org where you can sign up for updates on how we can all take part in the efforts; share your voice by tweeting about World Polio Day; and share a link via Facebook and other social networks. I also ask that while on the website you consider making a donation in any amount to help fund efforts to “end polio now.”

By working together we can land on the right side of history. Hopefully someday soon, we will be celebrating “World Polio Eradication Day” with all the children around the globe.

Originally posted on shot of prevention

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