UK Prime Minister Cameron honoured as Polio Champion by Rotary
Prime Minister receives Rotary’s highest honour in recognition of his leadership and dedication to a polio-free world
On 14 March, United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister David Cameron was recognized by Rotary International as a Polio Eradication Champion, for his leadership and dedication to a polio-free world. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rid the world of the evil of polio,” said Cameron in a statement. “The commitment of Britain and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, with the support of millions of Rotarians, has helped bring this crippling and often deadly disease to the brink of eradication.”
The Polio Eradication Champion Award, presented by Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee, was received by UK International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell on behalf of Cameron, at a reception at the House of Commons. “It is an honour for the UK and the Prime Minister in particular to be recognised in this way,” commented Mitchell. “Britain is at the forefront of the fight against polio and last year alone, Britain helped fully immunise over 45 million children from the crippling disease. None of this would be possible without the public private partnership of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the tireless leadership of Rotary International and its dedicated members. I urge all other countries and organisations to play their part now to achieve our ultimate goal of a world free from polio.”
“On behalf of Rotary’s 1.2 million members worldwide, I am honored to recognize the commitment of Prime Minister Cameron for his outstanding support of efforts to eradicate polio,” said Rotary International President Banerjee. “My own country, India, has just surpassed the milestone of a year without polio. We would not be so close to achieving the goal of a polio free world without the longstanding support and continued leadership of the United Kingdom. We encourage other G8 countries to follow the UK’s lead in continuing their support so that the world will soon be polio free.” The UK has been a strong supporter of the global polio eradication initiative with contributions and commitments totaling more than US$960 million through 2012. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative continues to face a dangerous funding gap of US$1.09 billion through end-2013, an amount that urgently needs to be filled.
The Polio Eradication Champion Award is the highest honour Rotary presents to heads of state, health agency leaders and others who have made significant contributions to the global polio eradication effort. In receiving Rotary’s Polio Eradication Champion Award, Prime Minister Cameron joins a roster of distinguished leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.