LDS Church Working with Rotary to Eradicate Polio

Jan 1, 2015

  For the second year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making a big contribution to help eradicate polio.  The church is working with Rotary International to accomplish that goal.

Rotary International got involved in the campaign to eradicate polio in 1985, when there were more than 300-thousand cases a year worldwide.  There were just 700 in 2011.

Former Rotary District Governor Gerald Summerhays says the L-D-S church provided 200-thousand dollars in 2013.  It contributed another 200-thousand in December.  That money will be matched two-for-one by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help fund an immunization campaign in West Africa.

Summerhays tells KUER, “That’s where we are doing the campaign together, L-D-S church members and Rotarians and the governments are working together.  Specifically this last year, it was in Ghana and Ivory Coast.”

While polio is rare, Summerhays says it’s still only a plane ride away from countries like the United States.  He’s looking forward to the day when that’s no longer a worry.

“You have to think about the children out there that are still getting polio and what a fantastic celebration it’ll be when there are no cases left on the face of the earth," Summerhays says.

The goal set by Rotary and public health authorities around the world is to eradicate the disease completely by 2018.