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Polio eradication within reach – Ban Ki-moon

Polio eradication within reach – Ban Ki-moon

Child being vaccinated against Polio in Afghanistan
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that the total eradication of polio is within sight, hailing the efforts of Chicago-based Rotary International and other United Nations partners in this effort.

When their work is done, "polio will be history, like smallpox," said Mr. Ban in an address to the Economic Club of Chicago.

The global polio partnership is spearheaded by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Over the past 20 years, the number of cases has fallen by over 99 per cent. In 2007, more than 400 million children were immunized against the disease, which remains only in northern India, northern Nigeria and the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Prior to the meeting with the Economic Club, Mr. Ban received the Rotary International Award of Honor from the organization's President, Wilfrid J. Wilkinson.

The award recognizes leaders in the international community “for their significant contributions in promoting humanitarian service, encouraging high ethical standards and advancing the goals of world peace and cross-cultural understanding,” according to officials from Rotary International.

Previous recipients include Kofi Annan, Margaret Thatcher, F.W. DeKlerk and four United States presidents.