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Rotarians participate in ‘humanity’s greatest achievement’

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Rotary STOCK

By Ray Gearing
Contributing Writer

At a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Livingston the club heard the efforts of Rotary International to be a part of what has been described, when it has been accomplished, as “humanity’s greatest achievement,” the eradication of polio from the face of the earth.

Terry Zeigler, owner of the Big Z Lumber Company, former president of the West U Rotary Club in the Houston area, and the producer of a Polio Eradication Update which is emailed weekly to more than a thousand Rotarians around the world, told of the international effort to get rid of polio world-wide. Governments around the world, the World Health Organization, along with Rotary International have been working to achieve this goal for several decades and now are very close to doing it.

Since the polio vaccine was developed, more than 20,000,000 children have been saved from getting the disease. The program immunizes 400,000,000 against polio every year. The International Rotary Club has committed $1,500,000 in the next three years and the Gates Foundation will match two-to-one for every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication.

Bill Gates has said, “We are achingly close to getting rid of polio – more than 99% of the way there. Finishing the job is a big challenge, but it is very doable if we keep up the effort.”

Currently there are only two countries where polio is endemic, Pakistan and Afghanistan. When Zeigler presented the program to the local Rotary Club there had been no new cases for the last six months. Since then, there has been one new case reported in Pakistan. The world will be considered polio-free when there are no cases reported for three years.

Local Rotarians, along with others around the world, have the high privilege of being a part of this endeavor and when it is accomplished will be able to say, “I helped wipe out polio from the face of the earth!”

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