In a resolution introduced by Illinois United States Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk on 26 June, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved measures that encourage the U.S. to remain committed to support for eradicating polio worldwide. The resolution commended Rotary International for its efforts to rid the world of the disease and highlighted the organization’s role in successfully eradicating polio from India in January.
“Although polio was eradicated in the United States more than 30 years ago, there are still men, women and children in a few corners of the globe who are stricken with this preventable virus because they lack access to the vaccine,” said Durbin. “Rotary International and Rotarians have donated more than one billion dollars and volunteered countless hours vaccinating children to make the full eradication of this cruel disease a reality around the world. Their work is literally saving lives. We are closer than ever to ending the scourge of polio and I commend the work of the Rotary and many others in advancing that goal.”
The U.S. is the leading public sector donor to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) with more than US$2 billion dollars in contributions. The Senate resolution calls for continued commitment and funding by the U.S. at a critical time, following the recent launch of the Global Polio Emergency Action Plan 2012-13 .
“Rotary International remains a key contributor to the health and educational development of communities both at home and abroad,” said a spokesperson for Kirk. “Rotarians have consistently worked with national governments and international organizations to successfully reduce outbreaks of polio worldwide and a polio free world is a lasting gift to our children and grandchildren.”