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Rotary Declares World Polio Day

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Rotary International has declared October 24, 2009, "World Polio Day" to spotlight its effort to stamp out polio worldwide.

In the past 10 years alone Rotarians in Alaska and the Yukon Territory have contributed $680,000 to achieve the dream of a polio-free world. They have also traveled to places such as India and Nigeria to help local people with national immunization days.

In 1985, Rotary International joined with the World Health Organization and committed to the eradication of polio. At that time, even though polio had been eliminated in the U.S. and Canada, 350,000 children elsewhere in the world contracted the disease annually.

Since then, Rotarians worldwide have galvanized governments, provided hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours and raised some $700 million to make eradication a reality. UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have joined the partnership.

Rotary Clubs continue to raise money to contribute to polio eradication.

In fact a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenge grant of $355 million (www.gatesfoundation.org/polio) is being matched with a $200 million contribution over three years from Rotary.

Individuals wishing to donate may go to: www.rotary.org/en/serviceAndFellowship/Polio

Source: The Rotary Club in Alaska

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