BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In honor of World Polio Day, which is widely recognized on 24 October, The Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights is proud to be part of Rotary’s 27-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease polio.

Each year the club donates upwards of $2,000 to this ongoing campaign.  Each and every member of the club participates in this global initiative. World Polio Day follows a succession of significant developments that have made 2020 one of the most important years in the history of the polio eradication initiative.

In spite of the many negatives that the year 2020 has brought upon the world, this year Rotary is proud to announce that through their efforts the country of Nigeria is now officially off the endemic list for Polio and that makes the entire African continent POLIO FREE – a major accomplishment!

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The message to world leaders is clear: support the final push to achieve eradication now while the goal has never been closer, or face the potential consequences of a new polio pandemic that could disable millions of children within a decade. If COVID-19 taught us anything – disease anywhere – is disease EVERYWHERE.  So it is imperative that we finish this off so that we can rid the world of this scourge.

Since 1985, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries.    The disease remains endemic in two countries -- Afghanistan, and Pakistan -- although other countries remain at risk for imported cases.

A highly infectious disease, polio causes paralysis and is sometimes fatal.  As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as US 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.  After an international investment of more than US$9 billion, and the successful engagement of over 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  It includes the support of governments and other private sector donors, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. For more information about Rotary or how to donate to the Polio Cause – or joint your local Berkeley Heights Club – please contact us at  908-803-5747 or berkeleyheightsrotaryclub@gmail.com