24 October: World Polio Day
World Polio Day was observed across the world on 24 October 2014. The day was observed to create awareness about the hazards of the crippling disease.
On the day, Rotary arranged a live-streamed global status update on the fight to end polio, where health experts and celebrity singers participated and hailed the progress of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
Besides, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organised the worldwide campaign to immunise millions of previously-unreached children across the world.
According to UNICEF data, the annual number of polio cases has fallen from 350000 in 1988 to 416 in 2013 to 243 cases in 2014 so far. The drop in number of polio cases is an extraordinary drop of more than 99 percent. Currently, Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, are three remaining polio endemic countries in the world.
About Global Polio Eradication Initiative
A Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) aims to eradicate polio worldwide by 2018. GPEI is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UNICEF.
About World Polio Day
World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
Dr Satendra Singh in GTB Hospital, Delhi raised a question that United Nation and Centre for Disease Control and Prevention websites tagged that World Polio Day is observed globally on 24 October commemorating the birth of Dr. Jonas Salk, who was the leader of the team that invented a vaccine against polio. But Jonas Salk was born on 28 October 1914, and not on October 24 as claimed by Rotary and others.