News detail

27 September 2000

Polio Eradication Initiative


OMEGA, world-renowned Swiss watchmaker, donated a special countdown clock to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Presented at the Global Polio Partners Summit, which took place at the United Nations on September 27, 2000, the clock was specially designed to count down the number of polio cases until 2005, the year that the Initiative hopes to certify the world as polio-free. OMEGA's involvement in this special project was in support of the efforts of their star ambassador, Martina Hingis, who was also recently named as the World Health Organization's (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador for Polio Eradication.

The OMEGA polio countdown clock, which will stand prominently outside the United Nations Main Auditorium for the next 5 years, will display the countdown in seconds until 2005, as well as the current number of polio cases, which will be updated every month. The number of cases in the previous year will also be displayed on the countdown clock in order to show the project's progress. Finally, in 2005, the original number of polio cases (350,000) from 1988 will be displayed as well as a current indication of remaining cases of the disease, which is projected to be 0! The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, launched in 1988, is spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

In 1988, polio existed in over 125 countries on five continents, but by the end of 1999, the number of polio infected countries decreased to 30, polio had been eliminated from 95 countries and another three continents and reported cases of polio had fallen to 7,094. Through her" Match Point Against Polio" campaign, Martina Hingis has helped raise awareness and funds to eradicate this crippling disease and OMEGA is proud to support its star ambassador's latest endeavour. For over 150 years, OMEGA watches have been recording some of the most significant moments in history from man's first steps on the Moon to world records set at over 21 Olympic Games. But for every joyous second, minute and hour that their watches mark, time continues to tick on the ongoing crisis of polio and its paralysing effects faced by many of the world's children. As this year's Global Polio Partners Summit set out to put an end to the devastating disease, OMEGA is proud to be there to record yet another significant moment in history.