Rotary honors Prime Minister Cameron for supporting a polio-free world
Andrew Mitchell (left), United Kingdom International Development secretary, accepts the Polio Champion Award on behalf of Prime Minister David Cameron from RI President Kalyan Banerjee. Photo by Maureen McLean
Rotary International has recognized David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, with its Polio Eradication Champion Award for his leadership and dedication to a polio-free world.
RI President Kalyan Banerjee presented the award to International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, who received it on the prime minister’s behalf at a reception at the House of Commons on 14 March.
The award is the highest honor Rotary presents to heads of state, health agency leaders, and others who have made significant contributions to the global polio eradication effort.
"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rid the world of the evil of polio,” Cameron said in a statement about the recognition. “The commitment of Britain and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, with the support of millions of Rotarians, has helped bring this crippling and often deadly disease to the brink of eradication.”
“On behalf of Rotary’s 1.2 million members worldwide, I am honored to recognize the commitment of Prime Minister Cameron for his outstanding support of efforts to eradicate polio,” said Banerjee. “My own country, India, has just surpassed the milestone of a year without polio. We would not be so close to achieving the goal of a polio-free world without the longstanding support and continued leadership of the United Kingdom. We encourage other G8 countries to follow the UK’s lead in continuing their support so that the world will soon be polio free.”
The United Kingdom has been a strong supporter of the global polio eradication initiative with contributions and commitments totaling more than US$960 million through 2012.
"It is an honour for the UK and the prime minister in particular to be recognised in this way,” said Mitchell. “Britain is at the forefront of the fight against polio and last year alone, Britain helped fully immunise over 45 million children from the crippling disease. None of this would be possible without the public-private partnership of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the tireless leadership of Rotary International and its dedicated members. I urge all other countries and organisations to play their part now to achieve our ultimate goal of a world free from polio."
In receiving the award, Cameron joins a roster of distinguished leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.
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