Polio Plus Campaign Update

We are very close to fulfilling Rotary’s promise when we started our campaign to rid the world of polio in 1985 and we all need to work together to be able to cross the finishing line. This stage is absolutely critical in the fight against polio and makes it ever more important that all Rotarians renew and strengthen their advocacy and fundraising efforts to eradicate this disease and fulfill our promise to the world.  

With polio on the brink of eradication, nations from around the world and key donors pledged more than $1 billion on Monday to energize the global fight to end the paralyzing disease.
View SlideshowThe historic pledges of new funds at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, will go toward drastically shrinking the $1.5 billion gap in the funding that the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative say is needed to reduce polio cases to zero worldwide. Just five cases have been reported this year, the lowest number in history.  

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said ending polio would be one of the world’s greatest achievements. 

"Polio is the thing I spend the most time on. Everyday I look at my email to see if we have a new case," Gates said. "I'm very inspired to be part of this. I'm also very humbled."

Rotary International President John F. Germ announced that Rotary would increase its commitment and raise $50 million per year over the next three years. Rotary has raised more than $1.7 billion to fight the disease since 1985.

“Right now, every time a new case is identified, it really could be the last one the world ever sees,” Germ said. 

Gates told the crowd of nearly 24,000 that, starting 1 July, his foundation will extend its 2-to-1 match to cover up to $50 million in donations to Rotary for each of the next three years. The match and donations to Rotary would add up to $150 million per year over the next three years, which will add up to $450 million to the fight.

The new funding will go toward polio eradication efforts such as disease surveillance, responses to any outbreaks, and the vaccination of more than 400 million children annually.