World Polio Day is a day on which we celebrate the progress made in the campaign to rid the world of Polio.  On October 24th, Rotary will be hosting an online Global update on Facebook. For those individuals or clubs that would like to join the update please visit the Rotary International Facebook page to RSVP for the event.
 
While huge gains have been made in the eradication of Polio worldwide, there is still a lot of work that still needs to be done. Year to date there have been a total of 78 new Wild Polio Virus outbreaks with sixteen of these in Afghanistan and 62 in Pakistan. This compares to a total of thirty-three outbreaks of the Wild Polio Virus for the entire year of 2018 with 21 and 12 in Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively. 
 
During the month of October, we encourage clubs to consider hosting a World Polio Day event, dedicate a club meeting to learning more about the need to continue the campaign, and/or have a fundraiser dedicated to the End Polio campaign. To learn more about World Polio Day and to download a “Tool Kit” to help with your efforts, please go to www.endpolio.org/world-polio-day.
In addition to World Polio Day, I recommend that everyone take a few minutes and read pages 30 – 49 of the October 2019 Rotarian. This is a wonderful article about PolioPlus with examples of the unexpected outcomes that have been realized through Rotary’s efforts to eradicating polio to help many more individuals and communities. In several instances, these unexpected outcomes fit in with “Economic and Community Development Month”.
 
On a related topic, some of you may have heard about a recent outbreak of Polio in the Philippines along with a second case pending confirmation from the World Health Organization. When originally reported these outbreaks were linked to the Wild Polio Virus. Upon further investigation, these outbreaks have been confirmed as the circulating vaccine-derived polio virus type 2 (cVDPV2). No cases of wild poliovirus have been discovered, and the Philippines’ polio-free status is not at risk.
 
While we are saddened by this news and for the child, especially as Rotary approached the 40 year anniversary of the first immunization project in the Philippines in 1979, it is important to remember that cVDPVs are extremely rare and only occur in under-immunized communities. Vaccination coverage in the Philippines has been steadily declining over the past few years, and the case reported underscores how critical it is to increase vaccination coverage to at least 95% of children to stop the future spread of polio.  
 
Rotary and our partners are working with counterparts and public health authorities in the Philippines to strengthen surveillance and support immunization responses in the coming weeks and months. In addition, on September 20, 2019, the 10 District Governors in the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Health to work together to ensure success of the upcoming polio immunization campaign.
 
To learn more about the vaccine-derived poliovirus, please go to http://polioeradication.org/polio-today/polio-prevention/the-virus/vaccine-derived-polio-viruses/