Posted by Bob Aitken
Dear friends,

Welcome to 2021 and the task of  maintaining the impetus of our END POLIO NOW campaign – in the face of the ongoing struggle with COVID-19.

To this end, I thought there was no better way to get our thoughts and plans in unison then to invite RI Past Vice President Mike McGovern, Chair of RI’s Polio Plus Committee, to provide a special message (click here to access) to inspire us all to renew our commitment to the demise of Polio by way of focus on promotion and fund raising within our Rotary clubs and districts – and the public arena – between now and June 30.
Mike highlights the fact that our PolioPlus network has been fully engaged in providing surveillance to keep the coronavirus pandemic in check during 2020  but never once took our eyes off the task of eradicating polio!  Please take time to read the message – you will be inspired!
During the festive season break, positive reports from Polio Day and Month (October) continued to be received from all parts of our Zone, so thank you all again for what was surely one of our best ever promotions and fund raisers.

Let’s look at the focus points for the final six months of 2020/21 Rotary year – 
  • The task of raising US$50 million to ensure Rotary’s full benefit from the Gates Foundation subsidy must be our primary focus, based on goals of:
  • US$1,500 from every club;
  • Districts to donate every spare cent of DDF to END POLIO NOW and take advantage of the bonus 5:1 payments from the Gates Foundation and the Rotary Foundation World Fund; 
  • Every District to continue the search for TRF Major Donors at US$10k or more;  
  • To take our promotion of END POLIO NOW to a new level in all Zones.  Our leaders in Taiwan, the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia mounted impressive campaigns in many capital cities last October and this must continue – with special emphasis on schools and the education of children. 
  • Urge Rotarians and families to make an effort to wear the red END POLIO NOW shirts and caps.  Utilise the caps as prizes for Rotary and school promotions, ie: Walkathons and Bicycle marathons. Plenty of stock available from RDU Supplies. 
  • Addressing the impact of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus Cvdpv  and the value of the new vaccine to slow the  incidence in many countries. 
I am happy to share the news that RI Past President and TRF Chair Elect 2021/22 John Germ has invited me to continue as END POLIO NOW Coordinator, Zone 8, for a further two years July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2023.
Finally, it has been pleasing to note little change in Polio case numbers during the festive season – December 30, 2020 – 139 cases (Pakistan 83, Afghanistan 56.These are slight improvement on total numbers for 2019 – 176, with 147 in Pakistan and 29 in Afghanistan.

Please understand that these figures may be impacted by the border conflict on the Pakistan/Afghan border and of course the ongoing COVID campaign.

PDG Bob Aitken AM
RI END POLIO NOW Coordinator, Zone 8, 2020/23