Since 1985, polio eradication has been Rotary’s flagship project, with members donating time and money to help immunise more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. Rotary’s chief role is fundraising, advocacy, raising awareness and mobilizing volunteers. Dr. Tunji Funsho, the Rotary National PolioPlus Chair of Nigeria, wrote the accompanying piece, following the Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Infectious diseases are a formidable opponent, described this year by the UN as a stark “threat to humanity”. Yet some of those diseases are like a boxer on the ropes, thanks to effective coalitions of governments, NGOs and the private sector, such as the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). And today, the Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa issued a declaration which should inspire all those concerned for global public health. The call to prioritise “universal access to immunization” for Africa’s “health and development” marks perhaps the first chapter in the global community’s new strategy for improving health and achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals by the target date of 2030.
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