Rotary Ethiopia commemorates World Polio Day

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

World Polio Day (WPD) was commemorated around the world on October 24 under the theme “World Polio Day 2022 and Beyond: A healthier future for mothers and children.”
In Ethiopia, Rotarians, Rotaractors and National Polio Plus Committee (NPPC) members came together to celebrate the day, raise funds, take stoke of achievement so far, note the progress made and challenges ahead to free the world from polio for good, at Sheraton Addis hotel.
“We were about to announce a Polio Free World in 2020 when we faced new outbreaks in several parts of the world, putting children everywhere at risk,” said Teguest Yilma, NPPC Ethiopia Chair, at the event, whilst sharing the message of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), as ‘the resurgence of polio is not speculation’; we have already seen how quickly it can spread. ‘Polio is not a problem that can wait while we hope for a better time to act. Our message is clear: Any form of polio anywhere in the world is a threat to children everywhere!’
Cognizant of this, the Federal Ministry of Health in conjunction with GPEI partners are gearing to launch a massive integrated preventive Polio campaign, scheduled for the end of November.
Similarly, on August 31, Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health, met with Rotary National Polio Plus Committee chair, Teguest Yilma, Senior program officers at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Andrew Stein and Dr. Kimberly Porter and GPEI Coordinator, Chris Kamugisha, in view of the recent outbreaks of polio around the world and the importance of good outbreak preparedness and response in Ethiopia.
In the last two years, Ethiopia has made progress in controlling the polio outbreak and has conducted successful national and sub-national polio campaigns. Moreover, great strides have been achieved to strengthen routine immunization with enhanced surveillance activities and social mobilization strategies, in addition to awareness creation within the population.
These steps of progress have safeguarded millions of children and their families from this crippling virus. However, according to W.H.O, detections of new outbreaks, including in areas where polio was believed to have been eradicated, is a stark reminder that children’s safety is at jeopardy until all forms of polio are eradicated everywhere.
In light of this, at the global WPD kick off, discussions in Geneva between WHO, Rotary International and polio experts, was held to consider future efforts to continue the decades-long collaboration against polio.
Recently, the GPEI’s 2022-2026 strategy which lays out the pathway to finish Polio in its last mile garnered significant global commitment in funds, at the 2022 World Health Summit polio pledging event.
Annually on October 24, World Polio Day is marked to provide an opportunity to highlight global efforts toward a polio-free world, and to honour the unwavering commitment of those on the frontlines of the fight to eradicate Polio.