Polio Eradication

Learn about the World-wide fight to eradicate Polio and how The Rotary Club of Witney plays its own small part.

Bill Gates Administering Oral Polio Vaccine

For 30 years members of Witney Rotary Club have worked hard to raise money to help fund the fight to rid the world of Polio.

A former member of  the club, the late Past District Governor Dick Bedwin spearheaded the introduction of the Rotary Polio Plus Programme across Great Britain and Ireland in 1985.

To this day the club is still committed to raising funds to finally rid the world of this terrible disease.

History of Rotary International's Drive To Achieve Polio Eradication

In 1979, Rotary International, appalled by the huge number of Polio cases, committed to immunise six million children in the Philippines with Polio Vaccine as part of its new Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) programme.

Spurred by the success of the programme in this and other poor countries, Rotary worked on a plan to immunise All children against polio which then led on to Rotary's PolioPlus programme in 1985.

Later in that same year in October on the 40th  anniversary of the United Nations, Rotary International announced a US$120 million pledge to its PolioPlus programme. This funded a core group of polio experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) who continue to guide the global programme.

The aim was to banish the disease forever. At that time over 365,000 cases of the crippling disease were reported annually, each a tragedy for the victim and their family.

Over the years, through the tireless dedication of the on-the-ground heroes of polio eradication, more than 2 billion doses of vaccine were distributed to 429 million children around the world. And too many of these heroes gave their lives to reach some of the most vulnerable children in the world with vaccine

By the end of 2014 just 414 Polio cases were reported in the previous 12 months just 0.061% of the total recorded in 1985. 

Read the Polio Eradication Initiative weekly Newsletter Here.....

Rotary International's role in the global effort to eradicate polio cannot be overstated. Since Rotary first exceeded its funding pledge for polio eradication in 1985 (clubs around the world pledged $115 million but in fact raised $247 million in the specified period), it has consistently fuelled the effort with resources, advocacy and genuine hard work on the ground.

Rotary's advocacy efforts with both endemic and donor country governments have maintained the dream of a polio free world ever since 1985, and brought polio to the brink of eradication. At the same time, Rotary has been the largest private sector donor to polio eradication, committing over US$1 Billion to the effort.

Now the fight is on to finally draw a line under the existence of Polio, but these last few steps will be very expensive to achieve.

Nonetheless Rotarians world-wide are not daunted by the challenge and are determined to succeed by continuining to raise money and to volunteer to participate in mass immunisation days around the globe.

The good news is that for every US$1 Rotary commits to WHO and UNICEF in direct support for polio immunization will be doubled (up to a total; of US$35 million per year) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

We are just one small step away from achieving our goal. Why don't you help us to go all the way?

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What we do Internationally

back Witney Rotarians work to encourage, foster and promote international understanding, goodwill, peace and fellowship around the world.