Rotary Clubs worldwide are spear-heading the drive to eliminate polio

June 2022 - Polio virus discovered in London - should we be worried?

The polio viruses discovered during routine surveillance of sewage in London do not indicate that the global fight against polio has taken a step backwards. They are in fact a sign of effective immunisation, but with the attenuated viruses contained in the old-fashioned oral polio vaccine that is still in use in some Third World countries (you may remember being given polio vaccine on a sugar lump in the past). Those excreting them will have travelled here from abroad soon after receiving the vaccine. Because most people in this country have been immunised there is no risk of a major outbreak and indeed there have so far been no reports of any cases. Only those in direct contact with those carriers will be at risk, and only in the short-term, and even if there are sporadic infections, these are unlikely to pass on to many others or spread more widely.

The global campaign continues. The only two countries where cases of wild polio infection have been reported in the last two years are Afghanistan and Pakistan and the numbers are in single figures (a single case in Malawi in 2021 was transmitted to a local child by someone who travelled there from Pakistan). There are hopeful signs that the Taliban are co-operating with international efforts to immunise the Afghan population more readily than they did when they were ruling the country in the past.

Rotarian Dr Antony Warren


Polio Endgame

WHO announced in August 2020 that Polio has been eradicated from Africa. The last case in Nigeria was four years ago. Cases have recently shown an increase in Pakistan (63 this year) and Afghanistan (34) after the immunisation campaign was disrupted by Covid-19


The world is getting so close to eradicating Polio - the "Endgame "was launched in April 2019.


In 1985 there were 350,000 cases of Polio in 125 countries.

In 2018 there were 33 cases in 2 countries.


It has cost $30bn so far – and another $3bn is needed to complete the task. Polio can only be transmitted between humans, so once the last case has happened, it can never come back.

Rotary started the campaign in 1984 – and showed that mass vaccination could be effective.   

Since then hundreds of thousands of Rotarians have helped in the mass vaccination programmes and in devising ways of getting vaccine to remote places. Rotary can be justly proud of its contribution – the UN Secretary General said that when it is finally done "Rotary will have achieved the Greatest Humanitarian Act in the history of the World by a Non-Government Organisation"


Rotary persuaded Bill Gates (through his and Melinda’s Foundation) to back it with the astonishing results so far.



Rotarian Graeme  Minto 

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The Cambridge Salvation Army Band

Rotary 'End Polio Now' supported by Salvation Army Band Concert

more On 6 April 2019 a large audience enjoyed a varied concert by The Salvation Army Band with guest Soloist Gemma Hinchcliffe and added entertainment by Rotarian Major Mott as compere.