What makes polio an emergency?

Bruce Aylward addressing Rotarians at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand. Rotary Images

On the 25th of May, the World Health Assembly declared polio a programmatic emergency for global public health. The Global Poverty Project interviewed Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general at the World Health Organization (WHO)

Why now?

Three things were driving the ministers of health of the world in declaring polio an emergency: first – on a positive note – polio eradication has reached a tipping point. India, the country that was responsible for almost half the world’s cases just two years ago, has now passed an entire year without reporting a case, providing incontrovertible evidence that polio can be eradicated anywhere. Continue reading

Rotaractor makes a splash for deaf and blind children

Brown and O'Neill

Rotaractor Ben Brown and Australian Olympic gold medalist Susie O’Neill at last year’s Splash for Cash.

By Ben Brown, a member of the Rotaract Club of Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia

Four years ago, I took part in my first Splash for Cash, swimming 27 laps to raise money for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, in support of children with vision or hearing loss in Australia.

I have a passion for youth and disability, and this Rotaract-lead project has helped me channel that passion. Every year since the first, I have aimed at stretching myself by bettering my mark, lining up sponsors in support of my participation in the swimathon, and extending the number of laps. Continue reading

We can eradicate polio by working together

Hugh Evans is CEO of the Global Poverty Project

Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, will be a keynote speaker at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, 6-9 May.

By Hugh Evans, founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project.

One percent.

That’s all that’s left of the world’s polio. Thanks to a global partnership involving governments, the World Health Organization, Rotary International, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of polio cases worldwide has gone from 350,000 a year prior to 1988, to just 650 in 2011.

That is a truly amazing feat.

India’s recent success has proven that eradication is possible. Not so long ago, people thought that India would be the last place on earth to stop transmission of the disease. Yet despite the difficulties, the four partner agencies of the GPEI, the Indian Government and the Indian people worked together to see it done.

Continue reading