Posted by David Andrews on Jul 01, 2020

In honor of World Polio Day 2019, which is widely recognized on October 24, the Rotary Clubs of Oshawa and Oshawa-Parkwood are co-hosting and livestreaming a World Polio Day Event from the new Global Classroom in the new Centre for Collaborative Education at Durham College on Thursday, October 24, 2019, it was announced today, by Ron Dick, Past President of the Rotary Club of Oshawa and David Andrews, Past President of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood.

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter presented the Proclamations from the City of Oshawa  to Jay Cannings, President of the Oshawa Rotary Club and to Lennis Trotter, President of the Oshawa-Parkwood Rotary Club. The Rotary Clubs of Oshawa and Oshawa-Parkwood received proclamations from The City of Oshawa proclaiming World Polio Day in Oshawa.....

In addition, many of the municipalities in Durham Region will also be receiving proclamations from their municipalities at this same event.

At this same Rotary livestream event at Durham College,  The Region of Durham will proclaim October 24 as World Polio Day in Durham Region, Ontario, Canada, as Durham Regional Chair John Henry (who is also a long-time member of the Oshawa Rotary Club), will be presenting  proclamations to the 10 Rotary Club Presidents in Durham Region (Oshawa, Oshawa-Parkwood, Whitby, Whitby-Sunrise, Ajax, Pickering, Port Perry, Uxbridge, Bowmanville, and Courtice), to the Rotaract Club of Durham College-UOIT, and to Rotary International District 7070 Governor Beth Selby.

Livestream from the New Global Classroom at Durham College: The Public was invited to watch the livestream starting at 5:15 pm by connecting to  and linking to the Class “Rotary International - World Polio Day”

The media stayed and watched this historic broadcast from Oshawa to the world.

The event will be attended by Rotarians from the 10 Rotary Clubs in Durham Region and many civic officials as they livestream the event from the new Global Classroom at Durham College to Durham College's network of colleges worldwide and to Rotarians and the public, all over the world.

Special guests from Nigeria also be connected during the livestream (between 7:30 and 8:15 pm Eastern Time), during  the keynote speech by Dr. Bob Scott, the immediate Past Chair of the Rotary International PolioPlus Committee worldwide. He will be updating the audience, in Oshawa and around the globe, on Rotary's continuing effort to rid polio from every corner of the world. He will be connecting with Dr. Tunji Funsho, chairman of Rotary's Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee. Dr Scott will also be connecting live in Lagos , Nigeria with the Past President of Rotary International Jonathan Mijyigabe.

Rotarians, their families, and the public joined us on October 24, 2019 starting at 5:15 pm , Eastern Time,  by going to  and link in to the Class “Rotary International - World Polio Day.

During the World Polio Day event, we will be linking everyone at Durham College and everyone watching the livestream from Durham College to Rotary International's  seventh annual World Polio Day event. We’ll be streaming live ,and we’ll celebrate the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative”, Oshawa Past President Ron Dick added.

Durham Regional Chair John Henry said, “I am so proud of my Rotary Club of Oshawa and the other 9 Rotary Clubs, here in Durham Region for their efforts in Rotary’s 34-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease, polio”.

Oshawa-Parkwood Rotary Past President David Andrews noted, “In many cities all over the world,  October 24, 2019 has been proclaimed  World Polio Day in honour of Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio from the world. Rotarians will be gathering at city and town halls to acknowledge October 24 as World Polio Day, and to reconfirm our deep commitment to Eradicate Polio from the face of the earth.” 

On Oct 21 at 11 am, Durham Regional Chair and fellow Rotarian John Henry will help the 10 Rotary Clubs raise the End Polio Now Flag at Durham regional Headquarters.

On Oct 22 at 1 pm, Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter will join the two Rotary Clubs of Oshawa and Oshawa-Parkwoood in raising the End Polio Now Flag at Oshawa City Hall.

The world is on the verge of eliminating one of the most dreaded diseases of the 20th century -- poliomyelitis. During the first half of the 20th century, polio crippled over a half a million people every year. Even today, children in some developing countries continue to fall victim to the disease. But thanks in large part to Rotary International and to the 1.2 million Rotary members worldwide, including the 10 Durham Region Rotary Clubs , the disease will soon be all but a memory. 

As World Polio Day draws closer, the world is 99.9% polio-free, the fight to end polio is not over and Rotary Clubs world-wide continue to raise funds to meet the challenge.

Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 34 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 children paralyzed due to polio every year, and in all of 2019, only 78 have been confirmed as of October 14, 2019  - 16 in Afghanistan and 62 in Pakistan. 

Oshawa Rotary Past President Ron Dick said, “Since 1985, Rotary members world-wide have contributed nearly US$1.9 billion to help immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio, and we have helped secure over US$ 8 billion from donor governments worldwide. Coinciding with World Polio Day, Rotary is ramping up its advocacy work in the 200 countries and regions where Rotary clubs exist to encourage every national government to commit to the funding levels needed to close the gap.”

“Events like this are happening all over the world on October 24 and throughout this week. Right here in our own Rotary District, in southern Ontario, Canada, flag raising ceremonies will be held in Markham, Richmond Hill, Oshawa, Ajax, and other towns and cities in southern Ontario. There will be a flag raising ceremony at City Hall in Toronto right in the heart of the city, the home to the 2018 Rotary International Convention at 11 am on October 24 and at Durham Regional Headquarters on Oct 21 , and in Oshawa on October 22.  In the evening of World Polio Day, we will also be lighting up the CN Tower, The “Toronto” sign in Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto, and even Niagara Falls in red, white, and yellow , the colours of Rotary's End Polio Now campaign, to raise awareness to our cause and efforts in eradicating this disease,” he added.

“We encourage everyone to join us, live, on October 24, 2019 starting at 5:15 pm to see what Rotary is doing to keep our promise to the children of the world – to eradicate polio” ,Oshawa Past President Ron Dick added.



A highly infectious disease, polio causes paralysis and is sometimes fatal. As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as US 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life. After the successful engagement of over 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It includes the support of governments and other private sector donors.

Rotary’s main responsibilities are fundraising, advocacy, and volunteer recruitment. Since 1995, the advocacy efforts of Rotary and its partners have helped raise more than $8 billion from donor governments.  And Rotary clubs also provide on the ground help in polio-affected communities.

Early in 2016, two members of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood and a spouse traveled to India, with their own money, and participated in a 4-day National  Immunization Day (NID) program. They were three of the 2.3 million vaccinators that went to 190 million homes and 170 million children were immunized in one day. “ That is Rotarians Making a Difference at its finest moment,” Past President Andrews said.

 “It is so important to generate the funds needed to End Polio Now. To fail is to invite a polio resurgence that would condemn millions of children to lifelong paralysis in the years ahead. The bottom line is this: As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children – wherever they live – remain at risk”, said Mr. Michael Bell, Chairman of Rotary International District 7070’s (southern Ontario) Rotary Foundation .



Poliomyelitis (polio) is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. The poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. It can strike at any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio is incurable, but completely vaccine-preventable.



In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Rotary has contributed more than $1.9 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $8 billion to the effort.


Global Polio Eradication Initiative

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, formed in 1988, is a public-private partnership that includes Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world. Rotary’s focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness-building.


Polio Today

Today, there are only two countries that have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Just 68 polio cases have been confirmed worldwide in 2019, to date, which is a reduction of more than 99.9 percent since the 1980s, when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day.



The polio cases represented by the remaining point one percent are the most difficult to prevent, due to factors including geographical isolation, poor public infrastructure, armed conflict and cultural barriers. Until polio is eradicated, all countries remain at risk of outbreaks.




Ensuring Success

Rotary is in the process of raising $50 million per year, over a three-year period, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These funds help to provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents. Governments, corporations and private individuals all play a crucial role in funding.


Rotary in Action

More than one million Rotary members have donated their time and personal resources to end polio. Every year, hundreds of Rotary members work side-by-side with health workers to vaccinate children in polio-affected countries. Rotary members work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute mass communication tools to reach people in areas isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. Rotary members also recruit fellow volunteers, assist with transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.




‘This Close’ Campaign

Rotary has a growing roster of public figures and celebrities participating in its “This Close” public awareness campaign, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; actresses Kristen Bell and Archie Panjabi; WWE superstar John Cena; supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; action movie star Jackie Chan; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman; Grammy Award winners A.R. Rahman; Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley; and peace advocate Queen Noor of Jordan. These ambassadors help educate the public about polio through public service announcements, social media and public appearances.



The main objective of Rotary International is service, in the community and throughout the world. As volunteers, Rotarians build goodwill and peace, provide humanitarian service, and encourage high ethical standards in all vocations. 


Rotary invites the public to support the polio eradication initiative by visiting ,  ,  and be sure to visit the and the website for more information about the two Oshawa Rotary Clubs.