Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

January 26, 2013

Local Rotarians join effort to eradicate polio


CROSSVILLE — Phil and Deanna Magdich of Fairfield Glade will be joining Rotarians from around the world to participate in the National Immunization Days in India starting Feb. 24 for the sole purpose of giving the polio vaccine to children.  Rotary International along with the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF have been instrumental in recusing the incidence of polio by more than 99 percent since it launched the global polio eradication initiative in 1988.

Since 1985 Rotary International has contributed nearly $800 million and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than 2 billion children in 122 countries. Rotary is currently working to raise an additional $100 million to match a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the same amount. These efforts are providing much needed polio vaccine, operational support, medical personnel and laboratory equipment and educational materials for health workers and parents. In addition, Rotary has played a major role in decisions by donor governments to contribute over $4 billion to the effort.

In 1988 more than 125 countries were polio-endemic, and more than 350,000 children were paralyzed by the disease each year. Now there are only four countries in the world where the polio virus is endemic; India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Only 650 cases of polio were reported in 2011. In order to ensure this number keeps reducing, volunteers like Phil and Deanna must be vigilant in their efforts to keep this crippling and potentially fatal disease under control.

The Magdich's are excited to be able to volunteer their time and effort at their own expense to this worthy cause. Rotarian Deanna Magdich of the Fairfield Glade Rotary Club said that Bill Gates the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation expressed it best when he said "The world would not be where it is without Rotary and it won't get where it needs to go without Rotary."

Phil and Deanna will be giving updates to the Fairfield Glade Rotary Club as they get into the "trenches" in India. They will be visiting the Rotary PolioPlus Offices, World Health Organization, The Polio Corrective Ward at St. Stephen's Hospital several schools and local Rotary Clubs.  It will be an exciting and satisfying experience.