Rotary End Polio Now Campaign

October 2019 Update

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JANUARY 2020 UPDATE*: The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)

Rotary pioneered efforts to eradicate Polio over 30 years ago and continue to provide and maintain permanent vaccination centres, solar refrigeration equipment, cool boxes, cell phones for rapid response, and a cohort of willing volunteers to the GPEI

Since the formation of the GPEI in 1988, the 5 core partner organisations (WHO, Rotary, CDC, UNICEF and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) have secured an international investment of US $14 billion which has enabled the vaccination of over 2.5 billion children in 200 countries

This has prevent at least 13 million new cases of polio, a reduction of over 99% and by 2019, the second of three strains of wild poliovirus has been eradicated and wild Polio virus is endemic in only two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan (66 cases, down from 2635 in 1994)

Although the UK has been free from polio since 1980, in November 2019 the UK government pledged a further £400 million of support making the UK one of the largest governmental contributors to GPEI. A total of £1.7 billion since 1995

This new UK aid package will enabled 20 million health workers and volunteers to vaccinate 400 million children per year around the world between 2020 and 2023

Treatment is made more difficult because both countries have mobile populations not aware or accepting of the risk or consequnces of Polio, and cultural resistanace to external interventions. Tens of thousands of soldiers are deployed to safeguard the 25,000 vaccinators working in difficult areas to give full vaccinations to children until polio is eradicated 

Frustratingly, persons who have been vaccinated can spread the disease because of poor sanitation, and substantial research has found this to be the primary cause of Polio re-emerging for instance in Syria, Ghana and Myanmar. To prevent these vaccine derived infections every child from the age of 4 months up to five years requires to be vaccinated 9 times per year

*Source: Rotary in Great Britain and Northern Ireland Official Magazine January 2020 


The Rotary Polio Plus campaign to eradicate Polio from the world is Rotary Foundation's most ambitious and enduring campaign and part of the largest public health intervention in history

More on the Rotary Polio Plus Campaign

Rotary is a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative initiated in 1985 to mark the 40th anniversary of the United Nations with the goal of eradicating polio from the world

More than 50,000 Rotarians across the UK and even more across the globe have been instrumental in this effort. Rotary brought the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) together to start this fight, and through advocacy and fundraising continues to drive the initiative forward 

GPEI is 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)

- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Click the logo below for more information on GPEI:

In 1985 there were 125 countries where polio was endemic and 365,000 cases of polio were reported every year

By 2016 the virus is found only in three countries Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan and Rotary and its partners continue to work towards eradicating polio from the world

99% of the world's children have been vaccinated against Polio. The last 1% of all children in the world are the hardest to reach

HELP US to reach our goal of eradicating Polio

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