The recent discovery of several active polio cases in an area of Nigeria formerly held by rebels has sparked an immediate response from Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The partners in the global battle against the polio virus have raised $99 million to step up and widen immunization programs in the country. Prior to the breakout, the entire African continent was believed to be polio free. Polio is not curable. but it is preventable with an ongoing immunization program.
Clement Bisi-Adegoke, District 9125 Governor in Nigeria, disclosed the action while speaking with news media on Sunday. He said Rotary has provided $33 million, which the Gates Foundation matched 2-for-1.
Beyond the small region in Nigeria, endemic polio is believed to be evident only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, two countries where strict Islamist terrorists have regularly attached and killed immunization workers in an attempt to stop the medical outreach effort. Thirty years ago, before RI began its effort to eradicate the disease, hundreds of thousands of people were afflicted annually. That number has been reduced to several dozen.