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The Rotary Foundation's First African Trustee Chair Takes Office
Date:7/1/2008

o decades, as polio cases have declined by 99 percent. Yet, challenges remain in the four polio-endemic countries: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and particularly Nigeria, where a new outbreak of wild poliovirus threatens to spread to neighboring countries.

According to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, 80 percent of children paralyzed by type 1 poliovirus are in Nigeria.

"In some parts of the country, more than a quarter of the children have never been vaccinated," said Chan. "This is an operational problem, and it can be solved. I am making polio eradication the Organization's top operational priority on a most urgent, if not an emergency basis. We are moving people and reallocating resources across the organization in order to finish the job."

Recognizing the risk this outbreak poses to the rest of the world, intensified vaccination activities are planned throughout July and August.

Because the challenges to halting the spread of polio in Nigeria are largely operational, Majiyagbe is confident that polio eradication can be achieved. During his term, Majiyagbe will lead Rotary's new effort to raise an additional $100 million to match a challenge grant in the same amount awarded to Rotary by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. All of the resulting $200 million will support polio eradication activities.

"The efforts being launched in Nigeria are a testament to the commitment of getting polio eradication back on track and ending this terrible disease, "said Majiyagbe. "With WHO's new operational emphasis on polio eradication and Rotary's latest challenge to raise $100 million more toward the cause, our goal of a polio-free world is within sight."

A Rotary member since 1967, Majiyagbe belongs to the Rotary Club of Kano. He is Chairman of Rotary's African Regional PolioPlus Committee and a member of the International PolioPlus Committee. Majiyagbe is also a member of the Honourable Body of Benchers, and a former member of the
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SOURCE Rotary International
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