President Barack Obama signed an omnibus appropriations bill in January that provides $205 million to support polio eradication in 2014, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U. S. Agency for International Development.
The largest government donor to polio eradication, the U.S. has contributed more than $2.3 billion since the mid-1980s, when 125 countries were polio endemic and the disease afflicted 350,000 people annually. Today, only Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria are endemic, and in 2013, the combined incidence of polio in those countries fell to a record-low 157 cases. Last month , India reached a three-year milestone without polio, paving the way for the entire Southeast Asia region to be certified free of the disease.
"Eradicating polio will leave a lasting legacy of health care infrastructure, experience, and expertise that is already being used to benefit a broad range of global public health efforts," says James Lacy, chair of Rotary's Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force for the United States and past president of Rotary International.
The task force leads Rotary's efforts to inform the U.S. government and other funding sources of the urgency and benefits of supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
One of Rotary's chief responsibilities in the GPEI is advocacy. In addition to contributing more than $1.2 billion to the initiative, Rotary has helped secure over $9 billion from donor governments since the GPEI was launched in 1988.
Three Belleair Rotarians spent Saturday the 1st of February at Rotary Camp Florida to participate in a much-needed cleanup of the recently purchased parcel adjacent to the Camp. Members of several Rotary clubs participated, including Jocelyn Chapman, President of the Clearwater Rotary Club. By the time we left, the cleanup goal established for us was ninety percent complete. We were dirty and tired and by the time we made it back to Pinellas County we were stiff and sore. The soreness that lasted for a few days reminded us of our day of Service over Self that required physical labor for this community project.
Chuck, Tom and I shared our thoughts about this Camp during the drive home. We lamented that we did not have the time to visit the camp itself. But, we also looked and smelled like wet and tired dogs, so a visit would wait until the next time we visited to again help with cleanup.
For those who have not visited or volunteered at Rotary Camp Florida in Brandon, consider doing so. A Saturday morning once or twice a year will make a difference to the camp and to the children who attend the camp. This camp is a special treasure that the Rotary Districts in Florida have created to serve children with special needs and disabilities. The camp serves more than 2,000 children and adults annually.
These campers have medical conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Cancer, Leukemia, Diabetes, Blood Disease, Birth Defects, and others. These children are able to attend this camp because of the contributions of the sponsoring agencies, Rotarians and their Clubs that support the dream of helping such children.
For one week, a child suffering from cancer and the side effects of treatment can have respite with others who also may have hair loss and loss of self esteem. A child with Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy or Diabetes is able to visit the camp and will share their experiences, make friends, have a chance to be outdoors in an idyllic setting. The staff and counselors work, play and care about the lives they affect in a setting that will remain in tqheir
memory for life.
As a Rotarian, I perceive the goal of Service about Self as being fulfilled by providing service in our local community and elsewhere in the world. The time spent in such activity is a blessing to each of us and a gift to the recipients of our service.
If you would like to spend a day helping the volunteers are welcome every first Saturday of the month at Rotary Camp Florida. Consider joining fellow Rotarians and their families for a day of comradery and accomplishment.
To contact the Staff at Rotary Camp Florida call 813-654-4042 And, if you cannot join us working, donations are always welcome.
John Gallant, Rotary Club of Belleair
Please join us at DERBY LANE, GANDY BOULEVARD, ST. PETERSBURG on Saturday February 8, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. for the 10th annual Rotary Goes to the Dogs!...a fundraiser for Seminar for Tomorrow's Leaders (S4TL), a week long training seminar for high school students to help them prepare to be the leaders of their school in their senior year and beyond.
THERE IS NO COST TO ATTEND....
FREE ADMITTANCE, FREE FOOD and FREE DRINK and all the FREE FUN you can handle!
January 2, 2014 UPDATE! Download the brochure with full details by clicking here.
Dear Fellow Rotarian:
The purpose of this correspondence is to give all Rotary clubs and Rotarians advance notice that on December 30th, 2013 we expect that we will formally announce a trip to India to participate in the February 2014 polio National Immunization Days. Please share this information with anyone who may be interested in participating in this trip.
We have been anxiously waiting for an announcement of the exact dates of these exercises from the Indian Government. They have just notified us of tentative dates toward the end of February. However, they will not finalize these dates until the end of next week.
Although the dates of travel are not finalized, and are subject to change, we expect that our group will depart North America on Friday, 14 February and return on Tuesday, 25 February. If you are considering applying to join our group DO NOT purchase any airline tickets until you receive our notification of the dates of travel and a confirmation that you are a part of the group. If you purchase your ticket prematurely, and the dates change or the group is sold out, you might incur unnecessary airline fees.
Over the past month, we have worked with the senior Rotary leadership in India to organize our travel program, our NID activities, and our special Rotary events. All of the details are in place and we are ready to receive the final confirmation from India. As soon as we do, we will send an announcement to you via e-mail. If you are interested in joining us, please monitor your e-mail closely, and be ready to act quickly. These size of these groups are limited and they typically sell out within a week of their announcement.
Thank you for your patience.
Best wishes for a happy holiday season.
The polio virus has been eradicated in most of the world, but Pakistan is one of the few countries where it is still a problem. Programs to vaccinate children have been hampered by suspicions about the purpose of the vaccinations, religious concerns about the vaccines, violence from extremists, and critics who say Pakistan has more pressing problems to deal with.