Rotary cash for WHO

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 December, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 December, 1993, 12:00am

A RECENT article (South China Morning Post December 2) described the efforts of the Chinese Government to eradicate polio in China by 1995, using funds from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 1987-88, Rotary International organised the PolioPlus campaign, which aimed to raise US$120 million (HK$936 million) for the worldwide eradication of polio and other childhood diseases by 2005, the centenary of Rotary.

The Rotary clubs in Hong Kong raised more than twice their quota, as did practically every other Rotary club in the world. More than US$240 million was eventually raised.

The PolioPlus fund, administered by the Rotary Foundation, is largely what WHO uses to support its polio eradication initiatives. When immunisation programmes in various countries are covered by the media, WHO is given due credit while Rotary's contribution goes largely unrecognised.

In case the generous people of Hong Kong are wondering what happened to their donations, I wish to set the record straight.

China's mass immunisations on December 5 and January 5 will be funded by a US$2 million PolioPlus grant from the Rotary Foundation.

In October 1992, US$1 million was awarded to buy vaccine for the national immunisation days in 1992/93.

Rotary has allocated US$15 million to help fund the construction of an oral vaccine plant in Kunming, which will produce 100 million doses a year.

A further US$899,000 has been provided for training personnel and monitoring the progress of the eradication programme. DAVID LONGWORTH Past President Rotary Club of Kowloon 1987-88