Rotary's remarkable commitment. Working with an incredible network of people, we really are so close to eradicating polio.

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See the Latest Figures on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative website THIS WEEK

As we celebrate The Rotary Foundation’s centenary, we have the opportunity to continue to work towards the successful conclusion of Rotary’s most ambitious and most successful international programme.

The Rotary organisation’s involvement in the programme to make Polio only the second disease to be eradicated from the world dates back to 1979 when Rotary funded a Polio immunisation programme of 6 million children in the Philippines.

In 1985 Rotary International committed to lead a worldwide campaign to eradicate the disease. At this time, Polio was endemic in 125 countries and over 1,000 children were paralysed worldwide everyday!

Since 1985 over 15 billion doses of the Polio vaccine have been administered, reaching 2.5 billion children. The programme has gradually led to the disease being eliminated in all but 3 countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Only 74 cases occurred in 2015 and 37 cases were reported in 2016.

The cost of programme has been huge. As well as raising money itself, Rotary has undertaken a major programme of advocacy with governments across the world, raising many billions of dollars to support the programme. Since 2009, the Gates’ Foundation has also been a major partner to our programme and at the current time matches every pound raised on a two for one basis, meaning that every pound Rotarians raise immediately becomes £3. But Rotarians don’t just raise money. Many thousands of Rotarians have taken part in National Immunisation programmes all over the world and a number of Rotarians have an advocay role, meeting with heads of government and other world leaders to ensure both requisite funding is in place and immunisation programmes are carried out.

We cannot stand still in this programme; we must finish that task Rotary set itself over 30 years ago. We owe it to our predecessors, to those health workers who have been directly involved in the programme, and even lost their lives, and most of all, we owe it to the children of the world. It has been estimated that if we control rather then eliminate Polio, within 40 years, 10 million children under five will be paralysed every year

Eradicating Polio is not cheap. The education programmes, the provision of vaccination teams and the vaccination programme itself all cost money. Even after the last case of Polio occurs in Pakistan or Afghanistan, it will be necessary to keep a vaccination programme going for at least three years. Even then there will be a continuing programme of monitoring, surveillance and response to any isolated outbreaks.

Working in partnership

Rotary is a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership led by national governments with five partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.


Please help us to END POLIO NOW, we need to Finish The Job.

Clubs - check on your giving to the End Polio Now campaign

Visit the Giving Reports for Clubs in D1090 (log in to access this members only page)


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