Hewko responds to The Economist
John Hewko, Rotary’s general secretary and chief executive officer, recently responded to an article in The Economist magazine about the efforts of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) that did not mention Rotary.
The 21 July article, "Late? Or never?", cited the most recent GPEI Independent Monitoring Board report and stated that the goal of stopping polio transmission by 2012 is in jeopardy due to a funding gap and other issues.
Rotary’s efforts detailed
In his 6 August letter to the editor, "Keeping polio at bay", Hewko pointed out that Rotary is a “big partner” in the GPEI and has contributed more than US$1 billion to polio eradication efforts. He noted that India has not had a new case of polio in the past six months. Hewko also stated that Rotary welcomes the Independent Monitoring Board’s assessment, and he urged government and private-sector donors to step up to help meet the funding gap.
In a portion of the letter that was edited out by The Economist, Hewko wrote: “Rotary’s role -- through our network of 1.2 million members in 200 countries and regions -- is to raise awareness and the critically needed funds to end this crippling disease once and for all, and that includes donating countless volunteer hours to reach children worldwide with the oral polio vaccine.”
BBC quotes Rotary
BBC News ran an online article about the monitoring board's report, "Goal to rid world of polio by end of 2012 'off track'", and approached International PolioPlus Committee Chair Robert S. Scott for comment. "We will work with our members in countries affected by polio to follow the board's recommendation of creating a checklist to enhance the impact of the immunization teams and ensure standardization," Scott said.