International has four main avenues of service, club service, vocational
service, community service and international service.
Service has been made a dominant emphasis in international service by the Board
of Directors of Rotary International. It offers to every Rotarian a practical
opportunity to fulfill that part of the object of Rotary that he is committed
to. "To encourage and foster international understanding, good will and
peace through a world of fellowship of business and professional men united in
the ideal of service."
In 1978 Rotary
initiated a special fund called, "75th Anniversary Fund", for the
development of the Rotary International HEALTH,
HUNGER AND HUMANITY (3H) Program. One of the first Health Hunger and
Humanity Grants led to a program that has made a profound impact, and is being
felt all over the world. In 1978, Rotary International and the Government of
the Philippines joined forces on a five-year project to immunize the children
of the Philippines against polio. Out of this project grew the extraordinary
program known as Polio Plus.
However, by 1980,
it was estimated that only 20% of the world’s children were being immunized
against the dreaded polio disease. The problem was two-fold, the cost, and the
difficulty of delivery. The great majority of developing countries could
neither afford the cost of vaccine necessary to immunize their children, nor
did they have a reliable way to deliver the vaccine to those who were most in
need of it. In 1981 66,052 cases of Polio were reported in the world.
ROTARY INTERNATIONAL'S DREAM OF A POLIO FREE WORLD
"Poliomyelitis is an acute infectious
disease, especially of children, but not only of children, caused by a virus
inflammation of the gray matter of the spinal cord; it is accompanied by
paralysis of various muscle groups that sometimes atrophy (waste away) often
resulting with permanent deformation."
Dr. Jonas Salk developed a form of Polio
Vaccine in 1953. It was a vaccine that creates antibodies that ward off the
Polio Virus. While this greatly reduced the number of paralytic cases, it did
not provide long-term immunity. This was an injected polio vaccine (IPV).
In 1954, Dr. Albert Sabin developed an oral
"live" vaccine; that provided long-term immunity, and broke the chain
of transmission of the virus. This is an oral vaccine (OPV), and easy to
administer. As a result, in the late 50's, and early 60's, community
vaccinations of millions of pre school children, and school children took place
in many of the World's developed countries.
THE PHILIPPINE PROJECT 1978
Clem Renouf, Rotary
International President in 1978-79 dreamed of eradicating Polio from the
Philippines. He worked through the Philippine Health Organization, and with a
Rotary Foundation Grant in 1978 the Philippine Government joined Rotary
International in a 5-year project to eradicate Polio from the Philippines by
immunizing all of the children. The strategy for the Philippine Project was
developed, and the necessary resources were marshaled to implement the plan.
In 1979, at the Rotary Convention in Rome, Italy, when
Jim Bomar was the incoming President of RI, PDG Jun Tambunting met with
President Sergio Mulish of the Rotary Club of Rome. During that meeting,
President Sergio announced that the ROTARIANS OF ROME was ready to help the
children of the Philippines and they had 500,000 polio vaccines ready to be
airlifted to the Philippines.
In a few weeks, the vaccines arrived in Manila. PDG Jun
Tambunting and PDG Benny Santos were on hand to pick up the polio vaccine at
the airport together with the senior officers of the Department of Health. Six
months later another 500,000 vaccines were delivered, for a total of one
million from Rome.
In1980-1985, after Rotary International (RI) approved
the 3H program, to immunize six million children in the Philippines PDG Jun
Tambunting was appointed as the 3H Chairman (Health). With the help of the
Department of Health, which had the lists of children below 5 years in all
barangays (villages) in the country. The Philippines was the first country to
have its children immunized from Polio and other dreaded diseases.
In 1984, Rotary International President Carlos Canseco
who was considered to be the “Father of Polio Immunization” launched the polio
plus project in the Kansas City convention.
Awarded at the convention was Doctor Albert Sabin, who
developed the oral Polio “live” vaccine. He told Jun that “there is no
organization that can eradicate Polio, but Rotary”. And Rotary’s goal was to
eliminate polio by the 100th Year Anniversary of Rotary in 2005.
Philippine project, a strategy was developed to attack polio and the necessary
resources were marshaled to implement the plan. Thanks to the efforts of
Filipino Rotarians, the immunization effort was a tremendous success."
International learned a great deal from the Philippine experiment. It wasn't
long before Rotary International Board of Directors decided to undertake the
extra ordinary task of providing enough vaccine to immunize virtually all of
the developing world's children against polio forever.
News of the Polio Plus Campaign began to spread around the world. It
captured the imagination of Rotarians, and Governments, but money was needed to
fund the campaign. The Rotary International Foundation set a monetary goal in 1986
to raise $125 million dollars for Polio Plus.
From 1986 to 1988 Rotary Clubs all over the
world were called on to help in the drive to raise funds, and every Rotary Club
rallied to the cause. The Foundation received several gifts of $100,000, and
then a one million dollar gift started funds really rolling in. Rotary Clubs
put on dinners, raffled off cars, had golf tournaments, and even took cruises
to raise money. One of the local clubs even tried a "nearly new"
men's suit sale. They raised funds every way possible. Rotary Club pledges also
helped to raise the goal.
Two years later Rotary International
would celebrate obtaining that goal and surpassing it at their 1988
International Rotary Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Chuck
Keller announced to the world that Rotary International raised a quarter of a
billion dollars to eradicated Polio from the map of the world. PDG Jun
Tambunting announced in the convention that the Philippines’ share was
Polio Plus Program of Rotary International officially was launched in Angeles
City, Philippines in October 1987. PDG
Jun Tambunting designated Angeles City as the Pilot City appointing
IPDG Ruben G. Henson, M.D. coordinator of the City wide immunization.
President Chuck Keller witnessed the Angeles
City experiment together with the late PRID Benny Santos of the
Philippines and PDG Leslie T. Whitcroft, and his wife Shirley (who
was a polio victim) of the Rotary Club of Ryde, New South Wales, Australia. At
that time, PDG Les was the Chairman of the Australia-Papua New
Guinea Polio Plus Committee.
few days before the visit of President Chuck Keller, the Rotarians held a 2-day
workshop and some schools were selected to benefit from the said project. Four
of them were the Sto. Rosario Elementary School, Angeles Elementary School and
Pandan Elementary School for Angeles City and Mabalacat Elementary School for
the town of Mabalacat.
The officers and members of the
Rotary Club of Angeles and Mabalacat included PP Melo Narciso, PP Fred Ayson,
PP Tony Angeles, PP Bud Valdes, PP Dante Timbol, Pres. Freddie Ayson, PP Bruce
Mctavish, Phillip Merit, Rtns. Joe Quitalig and Loy Lao were all in attendance.
These Rotarians and others were present at the workshop and were ready to
assist and work hand-in-hand in the project.
The school selected for the first Polio Plus
Immunization was the Santo Rosario Elementary School in Angeles City. Thousands
of children were given the precious Polio vaccine dropped by President Chuck
Keller and aided by the late PRID Benny Santos. Former Secretary General
Herbert Pigman was also on hand.
It will be 25
years next year since Polio Plus started in Angeles City in 1987 and we would
like to remember that significant moment when President Jim Bomar in 1979 and
President Chuck Keller gave the first drops of precious Polio Vaccine to a
Filipino child to start the global quest of Rotary International to help
eradicate Polio from the face of the earth. Due
to the success in Angeles City this became the model in the world for the National
Immunization day (NID), which was followed by many countries afterwards. We,
Filipino and Angeles City Rotarians showed the world that it could be done.