Rotary Honours 2016 U.S. Congressional Polio Eradication Champions

Polio Eradication Champion Award given to U.S. advocates for eradication efforts

Left to right: polio survivor and Rotary member Steve Crane; Ralph Munro, member of Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force for U.S.; 2016 Polio Eradication Champion Rep. Dave Reichert; International PolioPlus Committee Chair Mike McGovern. Rotary © Rotary

In May, Rotary recognized five members of Congress for their support of the humanitarian service organization’s top priority to eradicate polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still paralyzes children in parts of the world today.

The following lawmakers were presented with Rotary’s Polio Eradication Champion Award during an event at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on May 11, 2016: Sen. Roy Blunt (MO.), Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR.), Sen. Brian Schatz (HI), Rep. Tom Cole (OK), and Rep. Dave Reichert (WA).

These five lawmakers serve as advocates for securing U.S. government funding for polio eradication activities through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). As key allies, they influence both their constituents at home and congressional colleagues to support a polio-free world.

As the world’s largest funder of polio eradication, the U.S. government has contributed more than $2.8 billion since the mid-1980s. To support the final push to end polio, Rotary and its partners are asking for $234 million in U.S. funding in 2017 through the CDC and USAID.

Rotary established the Polio Eradication Champion Award in 1995 to recognize heads of state, health agency leaders and others who have made a significant contribution to polio eradication.

Past recipients of the Rotary award include Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and 43 current members of the 114th Congress previously recognized by Rotary as Champions.

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