Rotary Recognises Ireland for its Contribution to Eradicating Polio
Government officials from Ireland honoured
On 30 November 2015, Rotary International honoured four current and former Irish Government officials for their contribution to the global fight against poliovirus.
Diarmuid McClean of the Irish Embassy in Mozambique encouraged Ireland’s early commitment to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, while member of the Irish Parliament Joe Costello facilitated Ireland’s multi-year commitment of €5 million, announced at the 2013 Vaccines Summit in Abu Dhabi. Former member of the European Parliament Gay Mitchell was honoured for raising the profile of polio in the European parliament, and Member of the European Parliament Mairead McGuiness for gathering support for increased funding from the European Union.
With a commitment of more than US $27.2 million since 1988, the Government of Ireland has played a substantial part in reducing the burden of paralytic poliovirus, from over 350,000 cases a year in 1988 to 60 thus far in 2015.
Rotary International made polio eradication is main philanthropic goal in 1985. Since then, it has contributed more than US $1.5 billion, of which more than US $1 million has come from 2,000 members of the 72 Rotary clubs in Ireland.
With the world closer to eradicating polio that at any point in the past, it is more important now than ever that we maintain the momentum that has brought us this far. In this ‘low-season’ for virus transmission, support for eradication must be redoubled to ensure that every possible child is vaccinated against polio.