KARACHI  -  Rotary has announced nearly 100 million dollars in grants to support the global efforts to end polio—a vaccine preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children every in a year.

The announcement comes as Nigeria marks two years without any reported cases of wild poliovirus, following four reported cases in 2016, said press release received here from Rotary (Pakistan).

“Nigeria has prevented further cases of wild poliovirus. Thanks to the improved surveillance and rapid response protocols Rotary and its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners have supported, particularly in Borno,” said Chairperson of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee, Dr Tunji Funsho.

Dr Funsho emphasized on remaining vigilant about maintaining political and financial support to ensure strengthened immunization practices while reinforcing the efforts towards ending polio in Nigeria and around the globe. Chairman, Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus Committee Aziz Memon said Pakistan had made strides in reducing reported cases of wild poliovirus. The number of polio cases had been reduced to only eight in 2017 from 306 in 2014.

“Nigeria’s progress proves that halting the spread of wild poliovirus is possible,” he remarked.

“Although we currently have a record low number of reported cases of polio in Pakistan, we must remain vigilant about implementing the rapid response and surveillance protocols Rotary and its Global Polio Eradication

Initiative partners have established and focus on accelerating our efforts toward eradicating polio,” he asserted.

Memon said significant progress had been made against the paralyzing disease of wild poliovirusis and still it was a threat in some parts of the world. Ten cases were so far reported in Afghanistan and three cases in Pakistan this year.

As long as a single child had polio, all children were at risk. This underscored the need for on-going funding and political commitment for poliovirus eradication.

He said for supporting polio eradication efforts in countries where polio remained endemic, Rotary was allocating the majority of the funds it announced last day—Afghanistan ($22.9 million), Pakistan ($21.7 million), and Nigeria ($16.1 million).

Further funding would support efforts to keep 12 vulnerable African countries polio-free: Cameroon ($98,600), Central African Republic ($394,400), Chad ($1.71 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo ($10.4 million), Guinea ($527,300), Madagascar ($690,000), Mali ($923,200), Niger ($85,300), Sierra Leone ($245,300), Somalia ($776,200), South Sudan ($3.5 million), and Sudan ($2.6 million). Africa will also see $5.8 million in funding for surveillance activities and $467,800 for technical assistance.

Additional funding will go to Bangladesh ($504,200), Indonesia ($157,800), Myanmar ($197,200), and Nepal ($160,500), with an additional $96,300 funding surveillance in Southeast Asia.

The remainder of the funding ($6.6 million) will go to the World Health Organization (WHO) for research activities.