05.13.15

Congresswoman Lee Receives Polio Eradication Champion Award

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee received the Rotary’s Polio Eradication Champion Award along with Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA).

The Congresswoman was recognized for her support of the humanitarian service organization’s top priority to eradicate polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still paralyzes children in parts of the world today.

“Over the last few decades, the fight against polio has made serious progress.  By continuing to make bold and strategic investments in global health and public-private partnerships, we can finish the fight and end polio,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “As a member of the Appropriations subcommittees that oversee health funding and foreign assistance, I am proud to fight for greater investments in health because everyone deserves to live a healthy life.”

Polio affected scores of Americans during epidemics in the 1950s, but has since been reduced by 99 percent worldwide. Today, polio remains endemic in just three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

As the world’s largest funder of polio eradication, the U.S. government has contributed more than $2.6 billion since the mid-1980s.

Rotary established the Polio Eradication Champion Award in 1995 to recognize heads of state, health agency leaders and others who have made a significant contribution to polio eradication.

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.