The Rotary Foundation, District 9110 Nigeria has lamented the negative effect dearth of funds is having on the fight against eradication of polio in Nigeria in particular and the world in general.
Speaking during Rotary Foundation dinner dance in Lagos, specifically organised to raise funds for eradication of polio, District Governor, 2017-2018 Rotary Club of Gbagada South, Wale Ogunbadejo, said the foundation had spent more than $3billion over the past 100 years in life-changing sustainable projects all over the world.
According to him, in the last 30 years, the foundation had spent more than $1.7 billion on the global polio eradication, adding that they had reduced the scourge of polio from about 350, 000 paralysed children yearly in 1988 to only 22 cases last year.
The District Governor said from 125 countries in 1988, it is only three countries left with the disease at the moment.
He said more than 16 million people had been saved from paralysis, while more than 2.5 billion children had been immunised.
He said: “We have a budget of $1.5 billion for the end of polio phase of the year, but we have only $1.3 billion of pledges with $300, 000 shortfall. If all pledges are fulfilled, Nigeria is one of the three countries left with polio endemicity and we must show our commitment as Nigerians to this war through our support for funds advocacy and our physical participation in the war efforts. We as Rotarians are doing our best and many lives have been lost on the field. We are, however, vindicated but we need your help either as corporate organisation, NGO or individuals to join in this fight.”
On his part, District Governor 2010-2011, Dr. Dehinde Shoga, said they were succeeding in the effort to end polio as well as close to the end.
He said, however, while they are winning the war on polio, there are several neglected communities in Nigeria and other parts of the world with unmet needs.
The district governor said he was happy that Rotary clubs, through the support of the foundation, are rising to the occasion.
One of the high points of the event was the decoration of a polio victim, Akinloye Tofomowo, the founder of Shuga Band Entertainment, as the new polio ambassador.