Showing posts with label Polio Eradication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Polio Eradication. Show all posts

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rotary Foundation Honours Usha Mittal for US$1 Million Contribution to Polio Eradication Efforts

6 May 2009 09:00 Africa/Lagos

Rotary Foundation Honours Usha Mittal for US$1 Million Contribution to Polio Eradication Efforts

LONDON, May 6/PRNewswire/ -- The Rotary Foundation will honour Mrs. Usha Mittal for her recent US$1 million contribution to Rotary's effort to end polio worldwide. In a reception at London's House of Lords, Rotary Foundation Chairman Jonathan B. Majiyagbe will recognize Mrs. Mittal as a significant major donor to the Foundation, inducting her into the Arch C. Klumph Society.

Usha Mittal, wife of Lakshmi Mittal, a prominent businessman who leads ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, made a US$1 million contribution to The Rotary Foundation in support of Rotary's current effort to raise US$200 million for polio eradication. The organization's End Polio Now campaign is raising the funds in response to a US$355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The resulting $555 million will fund polio eradication activities in developing countries where the crippling disease still infects children, including India, the Mittals' home country. Since 1985, Rotary has contributed more than $800 million in support of polio eradication. In addition, individual Rotary members have contributed countless volunteer hours to help vaccinate more than two billion children, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 pediatric deaths.

"Polio is a devastating disease which still continues to cripple children in some vast populated areas of the world namely India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, the four remaining countries where the virus is still endemic", says Mrs. Mittal. "It is a disease for which there is no cure, yet a child can be protected for life with oral vaccine drops and/or a simple IPV vaccine. I hope that my contribution to the Rotary Foundation will help their tremendous challenge to end polio worldwide and that one day we will be able to live in a world where lives are no longer ruined by this terrible disease".

"I am privileged to be able to recognize Mrs. Mittal for her outstanding contribution to global polio eradication," says Jonathan Majiyagbe, chair of The Rotary Foundation. "Through her dedication, we are one step closer to a polio-free world."

Also attending the London reception is Rajashree Birla, another major supporter of Rotary's polio eradication efforts. In May 2008, Birla arranged a meeting with Usha Mittal to discuss polio eradication. Usha Mittal responded with a $1 million contribution to the challenge. These gifts from Mrs. Birla and Mrs. Mittal reflect the strong support the polio eradication initiative has received over the years from Indian Rotary clubs, the Indian government, the Indian public in general, and private citizens.

A highly infectious disease that can cause paralysis and sometimes death, polio still strikes children in parts of Africa and South Asia. As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.

To date, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 children annually in the mid-1980s to less than 2,000 reported cases all last year.

Rotary made polio eradication its top philanthropic goal in 1985. Rotary is the lead private sector contributor and volunteer arm of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative -- a public/private partnership spearheaded by World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF.

To date, more than two billion children have been immunized against the paralyzing and sometimes deadly poliovirus. Tremendous progress has been made in the last two decades, as polio cases have declined by 99 percent. Yet, challenges remain in the four polio-endemic countries: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

Rotary International is one of the world's largest and most effective volunteer service organizations with 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.

Media Contact:

Judith Diment



Source: Rotary International

Media Contact: Judith Diment, +44-(0)7860-162313 / +44-(0)1628 672965, or +1-847-866-3054, e-mail:,