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JULY 2017
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Donors pledge $1.2 billion to end polio
On 12 June, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, global leaders and key donors took the stage at the Rotary International Convention. Standing shoulder to shoulder in front of more than 20,000 Rotarians, each pledged their support to end polio, committing a total of $1.2 billion to global eradication efforts.
The additional funding will go toward disease surveillance, outbreak response, and the vaccination of more than 400 million children annually. If realized, these historic pledges will drastically shrink the $1.5 billion funding gap that stands in the way of reducing polio cases to zero worldwide. In 2017, only six cases of polio caused by the wild virus have been reported.
Learn more about the donors and their commitment to ending polio.
Bill Gates extends partnership with Rotary
When WWE superstar John Cena introduced Bill Gates as the convention’s keynote speaker, more than 20,000 Rotarians leaped to their feet to applaud the philanthropist. They stood to cheer again when Gates began his speech by announcing that his foundation will extend its 2-to-1 funding match for the next three years. With Rotary committed to raising $50 million per year over three years, that will translate to $450 million for polio eradication efforts.
During his address, Gates touched on many topics. He talked about Rotary’s leadership in the fight to end polio. He addressed the importance of continued surveillance and detection of not only polio, but also other infectious diseases. He gave statistics about the global and long-term impact of eradication efforts, and as he described each achievement, a section of the convention arena was lighted by LED bracelets worn by attendees. 
Read more about Gates’ keynote address, see videos from the event, and watch his “Today” show interview with Cena.
Rotary uses virtual reality to spotlight its causes
Imagine you’re a young child playing in your bedroom with your favorite toy. Suddenly, the bedroom walls are crumbling all around you. You clutch your mom in fear. In an instant, your life has changed.
This is how Rotary’s latest virtual reality film, “One Small Act,” begins. The film, which premiered at the Rotary International Convention to a crowd of around 2,000, took viewers along on the emotional journey of a little girl whose world is torn apart by conflict. It shows how even one small act — of kindness, of support, of love — can have a big impact. Rotary is using virtual reality to raise awareness of peacebuilding and polio in an immersive and interactive way.
“One Small Act” will be released later this year.
Vaccine-derived polio cases reported in Africa and the Middle East
Recently, at least 24 cases of vaccine-derived polio were reported in Syria, and at least four in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Health officials are working with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to respond to the outbreaks with supplementary immunization activities and field investigations. Other investigations and immunization campaigns are underway in neighboring countries in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading.
With any polio outbreak, it’s important to know the facts. This article, written by Rotary, gives detailed information about vaccine-derived cases. It explains how they differ from wild cases in the three countries where polio remains endemic. The article also discusses how rare vaccine-derived polio cases are.
Media Coverage
Bill Gates spoke with CNN about the new funding agreement, the lives that would be saved by polio eradication and the value of foreign aid.
An article in Forbes highlighted the new funding agreement, in addition to reporting on the progress that’s been made toward polio eradication.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to announce the new funding agreement between Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Canada pledged US$75 million for polio eradication, which was reported by The Globe and Mail.
All Africa reported on the $1.2 billion pledge from global health leaders to finance eradication efforts.
Gulf News Health announced that the United Arab Emirates pledged $30 million.
Pakistani Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq’s visit to the Rotary Convention was reported by The Express Tribune, as was Pakistan’s help to end polio.
See the complete list of media outletsthat reported from the international convention.
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