Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Polio Announcement: One year of no new Polio cases in Nigeria - help spread the word

On 24 July, Nigeria will have passed one year with no new cases of wild poliovirus.

This is the longest the country has ever gone without a case of polio and a critical step on the path toward a polio-free Africa. We’ve come a long way since the bleak years when the virus reached its peak. It was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa- three quarters of all cases in the world.

11 August will mark an even greater milestone: one year since the last case of polio in Africa. For Africa to be certified polio-free, all countries in the region, including Nigeria, must go two more years without a case of polio. To do this, all children in Nigeria must continue to receive the polio vaccine, including those in hard-to-reach and underserved areas.

I am immensely proud of our Rotarians who have donated $688.5 million to fight polio throughout Africa, including more than $200 million to Nigeria. I congratulate these Rotarians from Africa and around the world who have also devoted countless hours to immunize the children who now have the opportunity for healthier, happier lives.

Please note if the stringent World Health Organization testing criteria are met, then Nigeria could well be removed from the list of polio-endemic countries in September of this year.

As our public image coordinators, we need your help spreading the news about this significant milestone. It is crucial to keep the world informed about the progress being made in the fight against polio. The support of Rotarians, donors, and local governments are key to our goals and we rely on you to help keep them informed. This is why the RPICs program was set up. Now is the time to deliver.

Visit endpolio.org to download a toolkit of materials, which will help you raise awareness about this progress by:
  • Distribute a press release to news outlets in your area, to share Rotary’s role in the fight to end polio. Customize this press release template and send it to editors and news directors at local media outlets.
  • Send an op-ed to your local paper.. Update this sample op-ed for publication in your local newspaper. Check for your paper’s specific guidelines (e.g. word count) and then send it to the op-ed or editorial features editor for consideration.
  • Share news about progress in Nigeria using social media, and encourage your networks to donate. Sample posts and shareable content are available to download for your use. Social media is a crucial part of our milestone campaign and is one of the most efficient ways of spreading information.
  • Click here to share your support on Twitter for the fight to end polio.