A delegation of Rotary International leaders from around the world traveled to Pakistan this week to meet with government leaders including Prime Minister Imran Khan, Minister of Health Dr. Zafar Mirza, Army Chief of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Dr. Rana Safdar, head of Pakistan’s Polio National Emergency Operations Centre.
Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a non-political and non-religious organization open to all people regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation identity or political preference.
A delegation of @Rotary leaders from around the world traveled to Pakistan this week to meet with government leaders to discuss recent challenges in the effort to #endpolio in the country. Learn more: https://t.co/pNkzaLqU4V pic.twitter.com/RGTGTP25vo— EndPolioNow (@EndPolioNow) February 6, 2020
The Rotary delegation included Holger Knaack, Rotary International President 2020-21; K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, Trustee Chair of the Rotary Foundation 2020-21; and Michael K. McGovern, Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. The group was accompanied by incoming Rotary Foundation Trustee Aziz Memon, who leads efforts for Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus program.
The government leaders praised Rotary for its prominent role in polio eradication and for providing vital financial support to Pakistan and other polio-threatened countries. Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion dollars and countless volunteer hours to ending polio.
Rotary is the organization credited with initiating the global effort to eradicate polio. When Rotary formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988, there were more than 350,000 cases of polio annually around the world. Today, due to the efforts of Rotary, its partners and world governments, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent.
In this week’s meetings, the Prime Minister acknowledged recent challenges in the effort to rid Pakistan of polio, and confirmed that Pakistan considers polio eradication among its highest priorities.
Dr. Zafar Mirza, Minister of Health of Pakistan confirmed the country’s improved efforts to eradicate polio, noting that during the last round of national polio immunizations, approximately 40 million children were vaccinated.
Mr. Holger Knaack expressed his satisfaction with the visit and efforts by the Government of Pakistan to eliminate polio, stating,
“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with key leaders in Pakistan to learn about renewed efforts to eradicate the disease once and for all. We’re confident that with the support of the government and the Army, that Pakistan will get the job done.”
Anyone can be a part of the fight to end polio and have their donation to Rotary matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Donate today.