We are fortunate as Rotarians and Humanitarians to have played a significant role in the polio eradication efforts. The global health community including Rotary International and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation have committed over $630 Million dollars in recent years in an effort to eradicate polio from our planet. There are two events coming up this weekend that are likely to be of interest to Rotarians everywhere.

Diane Sawyer Polio Immunization Trip Report on World News Tonight

This Friday, January 28, 2011, ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer will report on an polio immunization trip last November to India.  Trip participant and local Rotarian PDG Brad Howard notes that ABC has its own Global Health campaign website.  So check your local listings, mark your calendars, set up those recorders, and tell all your friends and fellow Rotarians to watch.

Bill Gates at International Assembly

Polio Eradication and the Power of Vaccines Webcast featuring Bill Gates, Diane Sawyer, David Oshinsky and a panel of exports

To launch Bill Gates’ 3rd annual letter, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invites you to join a conversation about the extraordinary progress in the fight to eradicate polio and the enormous lifesaving potential of vaccines.

Thanks to a global childhood immunization effort, polio has been reduced by 99% and we are on the cusp of eradicating only the second disease in history. This presents a powerful case for the value of vaccines.

Unique Perspectives
Bill Gates will join global leaders to discuss what the past can teach us about protecting children around the world from polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases. The event will be moderated by ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer, and speakers include:

  • Dr. David Oshinsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, “Polio: An American Story”
  • Professor Helen Rees, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa; and Chair, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization
  • Dr. Ciro de Quadros, Executive Vice President, Sabin Vaccine Institute

Panelists will discuss why now is the time to rid the world of polio and ensure all children have access to lifesaving vaccines. No child deserves to face the threat of preventable disease, whether it’s polio, measles, or pneumonia.

To watch the live webcast, please visit www.gatesfoundation.org on Monday, January 31 at 9:30 a.m. ET. It will also be available on demand following the event.