Rotary International has been actively working to eradicate polio around the globe.
Today the club and its partners are on the verge of success, but a strong push is needed to root it out once and for all.
This is why the Drumheller Rotary Club is participating in the Pennies for Polio Campaign.
Residents can support the campaign to eradicate the debilitating disease by donating their pennies during the week of October 17, leading up to World Polio Day on October 24.
Pennies can be dropped at the Drumheller Health Centre, the ScotiaBank or at the Rotary Radio Auction coming up at Greentree Mall.
Rotary has a goal of raising $200 million to match a $355 million in-challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The club has until June 30 of next year to reach that mark.
Polio is an infectious viral disease. If it enters the central nervous system, it can cause anything from muscle weakness to paralysis. Vaccines were developed in the 1950s and the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Rotary Clubs have worked hard to eradicate the disease. The Americas were declared polio free in 1994, and Europe in 2002. The number of cases in 1988 was 350,000. The best year on record is 2001, with only 483 cases.
The resulting $555 million from the Pennies for Polio and matching grant will support an immunization campaign in developing countries that have seen it reintroduced, or have pockets where it is still present. As of 2006, it is still and epidemic in India, Afghanistan Pakistan and Nigeria.
According to a release, if polio is not eradicated, it is estimated that 10 million children will be paralysed in the next 40 years.