16 January 2014 13:39

Cyprus Rotary Clubs are organising a charity dinner at the Presidential Palace on Sunday at 8.30pm in support of a project by Rotary International to eradicate polio.   
The aim of Rotary is to eradicate polio by making a global impact and protecting children against polio forever.   The event is under the auspices of President Anastasiades.
He will receive the Paul Harris Fellow recognition, a recognition given as an appreciation to an individual for their substantial contribution to the association's humanitarian and educational programme.   
Main speaker will be Jamil Mouawad, Rotary District 452 Governor, the district that includes Cyprus and another eight countries. Rotary International president Ron Burton will also give out a speech.
Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours.
Polio can strike at any age, but it mainly affects children under five years old.  
There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunising every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.  
Rotary International launched PolioPlus in 1985, the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative. Then, the disease was endemic in 125 countries and paralysed more than 350,000 children a year.   
In 1988, The World Health Assembly passed a resolution to eradicate polio by the year 2000 while the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched.
When the Global Polio Eradication Initiative began, polio paralysed more than 1000 children worldwide every day. Since then, 2.5 billion children have been immunised against polio thanks to the cooperation of more than 200 countries and 20 million volunteers.  
Polio incidents have been reduced by 250 a year, with a reduction of 99%. There are only three countries that remain endemic: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.     
The  2013-18 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, which outlines what is needed to eradicate all polio disease by 2018, is another effort estimated to cost €5 billion.  


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