Honoured and humbled Rotarians engine of polio eradication Had the dream in 1985 Then you plugged away Congratulations on reaching 200M $ challenge EARLY What is it exactly that you've achieved?
First let's remember what polio looks like Causes lifelong paralysis, sometimes deformity and even death Once paralysed a thousand children every day, everywhere
But since Rotary brought WHO, UNICEF and CDC to the table and the health ministers of the world committed to ending polio, this is the picture. From 1000 children paralyzed every day now about 1000 children are paralyzed every year. 1 type of the 3 types of polio has been eradicated. How we did achieve this?
Because of our incredible partnership. Standing behind Rotary's vision were all the governments of the world. And partners with specific strengths and contributions. WHO – technical guidance and support UNICEF – getting vax, involving communities CDC – the virus detectives And just two years ago, our stickiest challenge ever was India.
It was an uphill final mile. Half the cases of polio in the world were in India. Conditions like these in northern India were the perfect refuge for the poliovirus – overcrowded, no sanitation, diarrhoea, malnutrition, low efficacy. But the government of India, the Rotarians of India and the other partners persisted Demanded performance from every level Contribution financially Made sure everyone knew about polio and its dangers And persisted. And persisted.
And this year, for the first time in history, India stopped polio. Many of us thought polio's last stronghold would be India, but now it is the newest polio-free country in the world. On this day, at the Polio Summit organized by Rotary, the government of India received a letter from the DG of WHO.
Proved that your dream in 1985 was achievable. With the right tools and the right attitude, polio can be stopped in anywhere. And this opened up opportunities.
Stopping polio in India is not just significant for India – it turns off the polio tap From which virus trickled into other parts of south Asia – Nepal, Bangladesh – and all the way to southern Africa. We are seeing polio on the run in all the countries where it had returned.
We are seeing a decline in polio in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – both of which were reinfected from India But also in all other areas that had stopped polio and were re-infected from endemic areas such as Nigeria and Pakistan. And remember that there were 3 types of virus and 1 type is gone?
Well type 3 is gasping its last breaths too. In fact, in the past 6 months, there has been less polio in the world than at any time since we have had this level of data and this level of surveillance. But – and as you know there is a but -
As we get closer to the top of the hill, it gets harder. The challenges are geographic, they are operational and they are financial. In just 3 countries of the world, polio still stalks children.
In Nigeria, there is 3 times as much polio as this time last year. In Pakistan, we seem to be coming down now from a large outbreak. In these 2 countries, both types of polio. Both have caused international spread – where the virus travels across borders and infects polio-free countries. Why is this happening?
Because we are missing children when we vaccinate. And the same children are missed over and over The most marginalized – nomads, migrants, minorities Could be missed because of geography – remote location. Or a bias – minorities are neglected. Or simply because we don't know where they are. The virus finds these children. It gets a free ride in someone's gut. But we don't get a free ride. We have to use cars or boats or donkeys or our own two feet. And sometimes we get stuck, as our team here in DRC.
They were going about 120 miles from the capital Kinshasa to an area where polio was causing an outbreak. No road, mud, etc. At least they were not in great physical danger, unlike our colleagues in Afghanistan.
Sept 2009 Polio doctors targeted This is the reality of vaccinating every child. This is an unarmoured car. We cant afford armoured vehicles. Because in the background of these challenges is the financial challenge.
This is a global goal which has benefited from some incredibly committed support. Your clubs each raised 6000 $ or more yourselves, and you were the moving force behind a good deal of the top half of that circle. But the bottom half is what's missing – we have half of what we need. There are serious consequences to that.
This means children missed their vaccination. These are the same children who are always missed. And this means children elsewhere are threatened, in other countries.
Virus from Pakistan travelled over the Himalayas to China, where it found a population that was not fully immunized. It paralysed and killed people – some of whom were adults. Government of China emergency response Military airlift. MoH control. Stopped outbreak. That is what we need now.
That is why EB declaration We are this close to PE, but also this close to failure Resurgence in 10 years to >200K children paralyzed per year The most vulnerable children Need to map those missed children, vax them at bus stations, follow their seasonal movements, mobilize their parents Hold every government official and every partner accountable for reaching children PAK and NIE have declared National Emergencies
Nigeria President's 'Special Task Force' Governors hold Deputy governors accountable over 1000 new staff on ground strengthening routine
Pakistan PM ownership (SMS message on first day of campaign to over 100 district level officials) full strategy 'rethink' - NEAP 1000 new staff
AFG Permanent vax teams Taliban support – fatwas – ICRC It's an emergency in those places It's an emergency for you,
You are in these places. (need additional photos of Rotarians in action – for Bruce) In polio-affected regions, you have National Polio Plus Chairs They advocate with their governments to ensure every child is reached, campaigns are financed etc In polio-free regions, you and your National Advocacy Advisors raise money and awareness. Hit up your governments for money, tell them to advocate with their peers. Spread the message. We will save over 40B $ if we eradicate polio. We're this close, but we're not there. Here in UK, you gave PM a polio champion award.
And here he is with his peers – right in the middle is a Rotarian. Yours is the voice that moves governments and societies.
Like these folks here on the steps of the US capitol. Yours is the voice and the energy that made this girl the last child in India with polio.
She and I were born in the same city. She walks now. On her behalf, thank you.
Polio presentation latest cut.
Polio cases (thousands) 0 100 200 300 400198519861987198819891990199119921993199419951996199719981999200020012002 polio is eradicated2003 One of the 3 types of20042005200620072008 Polio Cases Worldwide, 1988-2011200920102011