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MINISTER ACKNOWLEDGES ROTARY’S CONTRIBUTION TO POLIO ERADICATION

Gareth Thomas, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development acknowledged Rotary’s contribution to Polio Eradication in a recent letter replying to a letter from Ron Mollard, Communications Officer for the Rotary Club of Radcliffe, about the Centenary of Rotary International and the service activity of the Rotary movement including the PolioPlus campaign.

  The Minster said  “DFID recognises the substantial contribution Rotary International has made in the UK and throughout the world over the last 100 years, in particular the vital support it provides to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI). Rotary's PolioPlus campaign was the catalyst for the global campaign to eradicate polio, which has led to a 99 percent reduction in the number of polio cases worldwide. Without the dedication of Rotary members worldwide - who provide essential volunteer assistance during immunization days and more than US$0.5 billion in donations - the initiative would not be the success it is today. Only 6 countries remain polio-endemic, down from 125 in 1988, and the world is on-track to eradicate polio by end-2005.

  The UK has pledged US$480 million to the PEI since 1988, most recently contributing US$10 million for the polio eradication programme in Pakistan and US$0.5 million for the campaign in Uganda. This will help reduce the PEI's current funding gap and, we hope, encourage other donors to follow suit. We are already lobbying counterparts - including the G8 - with the intention of closing the 2005-

  financing gap by the Gleneagles Summit. Rotary's continued support and effort to lobby donor governments is critical to ensuring that polio eradication has the resources to finish the job properly.

  The eradication of polio in 2005 - Rotary's Centenary year - would not only be a testament to the movement's dedication to the campaign, but would also be a tribute to all the outstanding community work and volunteer service they provide around the world.”                         

GARETH THOMAS

Department for

International

Development

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State