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UNICEF honours William Sergeant for his work fighting polio

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© UNICEF/HQ06-1201/Markisz
Former Rotary International PolioPlus Committee Chairman William Sergeant receives an award from UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman in recognition of his leadership in eradicating polio.

By Kun Li

NEW YORK, USA, 6 September 2006 – The UNICEF Executive Board has honoured former Rotary International leader William Sergeant for his longstanding commitment in helping to create a polio-free world.

“Today, the Board pays tribute to the perseverance and dedication of a leader who has guided and inspired 1.2 million Rotarians around the world and who has worked for 20 years for the eradication of polio,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.

“William Sergeant is a model of unwavering commitment to a cause,” Ms. Veneman said. “In a world where public attention to issues can shift in the blink of an eye, Mr. Sergeant remains steadfast in Rotary’s goal of eradicating polio.”

Image de l'UNICEF
© UNICEF/HQ06-1193/Markisz
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman at the UNICEF Executive Board. With her, (left-right) UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah, Board President Ambassador Andrei Dapkiunas and Assistant Secretary Kirsi Madi.

Now retired, Mr. Sergeant was the head of Rotary International’s PolioPlus Programme, which has raised more than 600 million dollars to help eradicate polio worldwide. As the second largest donor for the cause – surpassed only by the United States Government – Rotary’s polio funds have supported partners in 79 countries.

“Our goal has been the eradication of polio – not just immunizing the children, but making sure that we can actually eliminate the virus. We have reduced the amount of polio cases by 99 per cent since 1998,” said Mr. Sergeant after receiving a commemorative plaque from Ms. Veneman.

“I think the greatest danger is not from the virus itself. It’s from people that might get discouraged,” said Mr. Sergeant. “We must keep in mind how successful we have been, and there is no reason whatsoever why we cannot finish the work.”




6 September 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Kun Li reports on the first day of the second regular session of UNICEF Executive Board.
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