Original article posted on rotary.org here.
Rotary recognizes Prime Minister Trudeau for Canada’s commitment to ending polio
TORONTO (June 27, 2018) — In acknowledgment of his government’s efforts to achieve a polio-free world, Rotary today presented Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with its Polio Eradication Champion Award at its 109th annual international convention.
Canada has been a champion in the fight to eradicate polio since 1986, when it became the first government to formally fund global polio immunization efforts. Canada has provided over CAD $750 million in support of a polio-free world, including a $100 million pledge to global eradication in 2017. Earlier this month, Canada, as host of the G7 summit, was joined by G7 leaders in affirming a commitment to polio eradication.
“Prime Minister Trudeau has committed Canada to remain a strong partner until polio is completely eradicated,” said Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley. “With the unwavering support of the Prime Minister and the Canadian government and their strong assistance with continued vaccination efforts, I’m confident we will rid the world of polio.”
Later this week, Rotary will announce nearly $50.12 million in support for global polio eradication efforts in countries where polio is a threat. Since 1988, Rotary has contributed more than $2.3 billion and countless volunteer hours in the fight to end polio, with Rotary clubs in Canada donating more than $66.6 million towards polio eradication. Rotary members throughout Canada travel regularly to polio-threatened countries to vaccinate children in mass immunization campaigns.
To help create awareness and support for the global effort to protect all children from polio, Rotary’s international convention will feature two virtual reality videos that will immerse viewers into the lives of those still impacted by the disease, and what it will take to eradicate it worldwide. Download the Rotary VR app in Google Play or the Apple App Store to view “I Dream of an Empty Ward.”
Polio eradication has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. In 1988, Rotary became a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and later, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 22 confirmed cases in two countries in 2017.
About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Toronto’s first Rotary convention took place 94 years ago, with subsequent conventions in 1942, 1964 and 1983.
About the Polio Eradication Champion Award: Rotary established the award in 1995 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the global eradication effort. Prime Minister Trudeau is the third Canadian Prime Minister to receive the award, joining Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper. Past recipients also include Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan; Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; Nevin Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development; and Ban Ki-moon, former UN secretary-general.
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