Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Richard Lewis Talks Polio

Richard Lewis, chatted with us about Polio and Rotary's campaign to eliminate that awful disease. When Polio Plus was begun in 1985 there were about 1000 cases of polio every DAY in our world. Today, there are just 3 countries where polio is still around...Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Nigeria has been polio free before but refugees from Syria brought the disease back. In the last 3 years there have been less that 10 new cases of polio in our world. How did this project begin? In 1979 Rotary brought out a new division of RI, the 3H Program...grants were available for Health, Hunger, and Humanities. One of the first large 3 H grants was to help eliminate polio in the Phillipines. That 5 year program was successful and so were the ones in Haiti, Morocco, Bolivia, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia. Men who were to serve a RI presidents, Matt Capras and Carlos Conseco spearheaded the elimination of polio campaign which began during Conseco's year as RI president. Dr. Albert Sabin was a special consultant to the committee. By 2005, polio had been reduced by 99%. Amazing. Rotary's original goal was to raise $120 million...Rotary raised $240 million and through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we have added countless dollars more. We now stand on the threshold of adding polio AND small pox at a major disease that is seen no more. What will Rotary do after polio is wiped off the face of our earth? It is anybodys guess.... Great program Dr. Lewis…

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