Rotary campaigns
to eradicate polio

Drivers passing Camana Bay tonight until 9 March will see a large message declaring Rotary’s pledge to rid the world of polio.

The message will first appear in lights against the side of an office building in Camana Bay on the 106th anniversary of the humanitarian service organisation’s inception.

The building illumination is part of a worldwide drive to elevate public awareness of Rotary’s pledge to eradicate polio.

Tony Catalanotto, the Polio Plus director and vice president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise, said: “We plan to have fellow Rotarians at Camana Bay soliciting for donations and also to better explain this great worldwide initiative.”

In addition, many of the Camana Bay merchants will have Polio Plus collection boxes for donations.

“It is important to note,” Mr. Catalanotto says, “that the bottom line is this: As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children — wherever they live — remain at risk.”

Rotary is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.

Rotary has pledged to raise US$200 million to match $355 million in challenge grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The entire $555 million will be spent in support of eradication activities.

Great progress has been made, according to a Rotary press release. The number of cases of polio infection has plunged from about 350,000 in 1988 to fewer than 2,000 in 2009. More than two billion children have been immunized in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 pediatric deaths.

Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than $900 million and countless volunteer hours.

To learn more about polio eradication, including how to participate in the effort, please visit www.rotary.org/endpolio. To make a donation, please visit participating merchants at Camana Bay, approach any local Rotarian, or call Tony Catalanotto at 926-7368.