Rotary District 7210 Past District Governor Bill Bassett (Walkill East Rotary Club) describes the history and current success of the effort, started by Rotary in 1979, to completely eradicate the terrible disease poliomyelitis, commonly called polio. Polio has a long history as a human disease that often causes lifetime paralysis or even death. In the early 1980s a thousand persons per day contracted it and it was endemic in 125 nations. As a result of a partnership led by Rotary, but including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UNICEF, the number of cases has been reduced to about 150 per year and it is endemic only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This effort has been aided by hundreds of millions of dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation put forth as matching challenges for The Rotary Foundation, currently a two-for-one match to every Rotary dollar up to $35 million per year.
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