ALLAN KATZ: NWI Rotary aids fight to reduce polio

Jul 14, 2016-Crown Point Rotary learned last week that at the end of June 2016, there were only 20 cases of polio worldwide: six in Pakistan, 11 in Afghanistan and three in Laos, according to the World Health Organization.
That is down from 250,000 cases of polio 25 years ago and 106 cases in 2015.
One of Crown Point Rotary’s major efforts is supporting the Rotary Worldwide Campaign to eradicate polio. Two Crown Point Rotarians are major donors to the worldwide campaign, and every Crown Point Rotarian for the past decade has been a contributor to the campaign.
Crown Point Rotary President Katherine Chariton has made funding the polio eradication campaign a major effort during her year as president of Crown Point Rotary.
Rotary assumed the lead in eradicating this horrific disease 25 years ago through its Rotary Foundation. To date, the campaign has vaccinated more than 2.5 billion children worldwide.
The strategy for eliminating polio involves saturation vaccinating areas around any new case of polio so that it cannot spread. This method has succeeded most recently in India and Nigeria where polio was widespread and which have had no active cases for more than three years.
This technique also serves as an experiment useful to eliminate other communicable diseases worldwide, especially those like polio that prey on children. Such diseases are particularly lethal in third-world countries where Rotary is launching its newest campaign to provide fresh water for those who have minimal clean-water access and are subject to waterborne disease epidemics.
While some give their lives these days to spread terror, Rotary says it is fighting fear of diseases that kill hundreds of thousands yearly and are far more deadly than any terrorist attack.

Allan Katz is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School and serves as chairman of the Northern Indiana Rotary Strategic Plan Committee. The opinions are the writer’s.