Chancellor Achampong Urges Rotarians to Continue in Fight to Eradicate Polio
On May 17, Francis K. Achampong, chancellor of Penn State Mont Alto, urged Rotarians to continue in the fight to eradicate polio, during a District Leadership Assembly meeting at the Carlisle Country Club in Carlisle, Pa.
Since 1985, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries, according to rotary.org.
A polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Waynesboro, Achampong said it remains a mystery how he contracted the disease at age 3. None of his immediate or extended family across the generations has ever contracted the disease.
“When I think about myself, I know I am extremely fortunate that polio didn’t end my life,” he said. Due to his nurturing and supportive family, Achampong relayed that he not only survived the disease but also received an “excellent education,” which has helped him succeed in life.
Although the paralyzing virus was near eradication in 2012 – after a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children – the goal of a polio-free world by 2018 seems to have suffered a setback, said Achampong, noting recent outbreaks of polio in Cameroon, Iraq, Equatorial Guinea, and Syria. On May 5, 2014, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency to stem the spread of the virus from Pakistan, Syria, and Cameroon by calling for travelers from those countries to be vaccinated before traveling abroad.
“Millions of lives have been devastated or lost over the decades, and many people have never realized their potential because of this disease,” said Achampong, who called attention to how survivors of the disease continue to face post-polio challenges. “We must end polio now if the world’s children are to be safe from this horrible disease.”
Rotary is a partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many governments.
Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year.
For more information, visit rotary.org and http://www.rotaryclubofwaynesboro.org.