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October 24, 2020

Message

Lahore

 
October 24, 2020

By Holger Knaack, President, Rotary International (2020-21)

Dear fellow Rotarians, I hope this message finds you all safe and well. I’m writing to extend my warmest greetings as you and Rotarians everywhere gather-in person, and virtually- to celebrate World Polio Day. World Polio Day is a time for Rotarians from all over the world to come together, recognise our progress in the fight to end polio, and discuss the action we need to take in order to end polio for good. In our fight to end polio, we’ve used our collective strength to defeat this devastating disease in almost every part of the world-and our hard work is paying off. Two months ago, Rotary and our partners made history as the African region was certified free of wild poliovirus. Because of the efforts of Rotary members around the world, no child ever again will be paralysed by the wild poliovirus in Africa. This accomplishment shows that polio eradication is possible and achievable, even in the most difficult of circumstances. The fight to end polio has broader benefits that reach beyond polio eradication. As such, the theme for this year’s World Polio Day recognises that “A win against polio is a win for global health.” Over the last several months, the polio infrastructure that Rotary members helped build has been used to respond to COVID-19 in many vulnerable countries. This same infrastructure has been used in the past to respond to diseases like Ebola, measles, and yellow fever, and has helped protect communities from numerous other health challenges. And, after polio is eradicated worldwide, the system and tools we developed to fight polio will serve as Rotary’s lasting legacy, and will continue protecting vulnerable communities around the world. This World Polio Day is unique, as we come together to recognise the fight against polio in the midst of a global pandemic. While the world’s focus is on COVID-19, polio eradication must continue to be a priority, especially as the pandemic threatens immunisation programs around the world. Wild poliovirus still continues to paralyse children in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as long as polio exists anywhere, it remains a threat everywhere. Now more than ever, it’s important to remain committed to polio eradication and continue raising the funds and awareness necessary to fulfill our promise of a polio free world. World Polio Day is the most important opportunity Rotarians have for the world to hear our rallying cry to End Polio Now. I hope you’ll take some time to view Rotary’sWorld Polio Day Online Global Update to hear from Rotarians, partners, and celebrities about the status of Rotary’s fight to eradicate polio. The program will be available starting on October 24, on the Rotary International Facebook page, as well as endpolio.org/World-Polio-Day. This World Polio Day, I want to extend my appreciation to you for everything that you are doing to achieve a polio-free world. Your continued support of Rotary’s End Polio Now fundraising campaign has never been more important.