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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 4:10 am | Fair 47º


Rotary District Governor Visits Santa Barbara in ‘Goodbye Polio’ Car

The message represents Rotary’s 25-year effort to eradicate polio

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise welcomed Rotary District 5240 Gov. Deepa Willingham on Wednesday for its regular club meeting.

Willingham arrived in her “Goodbye Polio” shrink-wrapped car. Her car’s message represents Rotary’s 25-year effort to eradicate polio.

Since the PolioPlus program’s inception in 1985, more than 2 billion children have received oral polio vaccine. Rotary and its partners — the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF — dream of a polio-free world.

Willingham’s District 5240 — 72 clubs from Atascadero in the North to Simi Valley in the South to China Lake in the East — is ninth in the world in PolioPlus giving with a total of $648,783. Rotary’s goal is to raise $200 million by June 20, 2012, to match $355 million in challenge grants received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The resulting $555 million will directly support immunization campaigns in developing countries, where polio continues to infect and paralyze children.

In 1985, there were 350,000 polio cases in 125 countries. Today, there are only four endemic countries — Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan — the lowest in history.

— Karen Kawaguchi represents the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise.

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