On World Polio Day, join the World’s Biggest Commercial
On World Polio Day, 24 October, people around the globe will participate in the World’s Biggest Commercial, promoting the international effort to eradicate the devastating disease.
The innovative, interactive online initiative gives everyone a chance to join Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Gates, Jackie Chan, Angelique Kidjo, and other world figures and celebrities who have already joined in Rotary’s This Close campaign in support of polio eradication. Participants can upload photos of themselves to Rotary’s polio eradication website, endpolionow.org, to be edited into the constantly expanding promotional spot. They receive an email with a direct link to their image and comment within the commercial.
Rotary is also releasing End Polio Now, an eclectic album of songs performed by its celebrity polio eradication ambassadors from the music industry. The lineup includes several polio survivors: violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, folk rock musician Donovan, and Staff Benda Bilili, a Congolese soukous band scheduled to launch its U.S. tour in Los Angeles on World Polio Day. The End Polio Now album will be available for purchase on iTunes and at shop.rotary.org with all proceeds from sales going to PolioPlus.
Coinciding with World Polio Day, Rotary is ramping up its advocacy work in the 200 countries and regions where Rotary clubs exist to encourage every national government to commit to help meet a $700 million funding shortfall for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative through 2013.
Although new polio cases are at an all-time low -- there were fewer than 180 worldwide in 2012 as of 16 October -- the funding gap has already curtailed scheduled immunization activities in polio-affected countries. If eradication fails and polio rebounds, up to 200,000 children per year could be paralyzed.
“Governments need to step up and honor their commitments to polio eradication if we are to achieve our goal of a polio-free world,” says Wilfrid J. Wilkinson, chair of The Rotary Foundation. “We are at a true tipping point, with success never closer than it is right now. We must seize the advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the world’s children.”
Here are other ways you can support the global effort to eradicate polio: