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Rotary and CDC – Partners in Polio and Beyond

Posted on by W. William Schluter, MD, MSPH, Director, Global Immunization Division
W. William Schluter, MD, MSPH, Director, Global Immunization Division
W. William Schluter, MD, MSPH, Director, Global Immunization Division
Photo credit: d’Arcy Lunn/STOP volunteer

Partnerships play an integral role in CDC’s international work. Eradication and elimination initiatives for vaccine-preventable diseases serve as examples underlining the importance of public-private partnerships. Global polio eradication has been and remains a top priority for CDC. It would be only the second time in history that a human disease has been eradicated, and partners have been key to achieving the progress to date. Rotary International has been at the forefront of polio eradication through its fundraising and expertise in community engagement supported by a global network of volunteer leaders committed to working towards a polio-free world.

In 1988, the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) accelerated polio eradication efforts by uniting the strengths of Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and CDC into a global partnership to end polio. The establishment of the GPEI has resulted in tremendous success. In fact, the number of worldwide polio cases has fallen from an estimated 350,000 when GPEI was formed in 1988 to only 37 in 2016—a decline of more than 99.99% in reported cases. As a key member, Rotary supports immunization activities, surveillance, and research spearheaded by GPEI.

Rotary’s engagement with CDC and support for common interests is not limited to polio. CDC and Rotary partner to make impacts on various public health efforts around the world, such as the provision of basic health services and access to clean water & sanitation. For example, CDC and Rotary collaborate in India, Nigeria, and South Africa, along with the Ministries of Health and partners like USAID on Rotary Family Health Days. During these campaigns, we work together to increase childhood immunizations, prevent HIV/AIDS and screen for cervical cancer.  Other projects include providing de-worming for children, distributing mosquito bed nets, and the provision of other health care services like blood pressure screening and eye exams for cataracts.

As Rotary International holds their annual convention in Atlanta, we celebrate their amazing contributions to eradication of polio and improving the lives of both domestic and international communities. We can continue to make strides in public health like reducing health disparities, eliminating and eradicating vaccine-preventable diseases, improving access to safe water and so much more thanks to partners like Rotary International.

Posted on by W. William Schluter, MD, MSPH, Director, Global Immunization DivisionTags , , , ,

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