LCR member Janis Bunker is a passionate advocate for PolioPlus, Rotary Foundation’s drive to eradicate polio in the world. When she attended the 2017 Rotary International conference in Atlanta last June, she joined roundtable discussions about the effort. Beginning in 1979. Rotary International began its fight against polio with a multi-year project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. Over the past decades, Rotary has partnered with the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund and implement the project.
Today, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan are the only countries where polio remains endemic. Although there were only 17 cases reported during 2017, work to ensure that the virus does not emerge once again will continue for ten years after the last case is reported. Even as monitoring for new cases continues, the infrastructure of laboratories and immunization clinics works to manage outbreaks of new diseases in the world.
Michael Steinle, chair of the Foundation Committee for Lawrence Central Rotary, outlined the six areas of focus that define the work of Rotary Foundation. They are (1) promoting peace; (2) fighting disease; (3) providing clean water, sanitation, and hygience; (4) saving mothers and children, (5) supporting education; and (6) growing local economies. Contributions to the Foundation support projects aimed at these initiatives. The Foundation is proud to be known for delivering 91% of each contribution dollar to help these efforts.