Rotary Clubs all over District 7070, , celebrate World Polio Day ,  October 24, , as we tell the world that Polio is being eradicated and that Rotary is leading the way. A very special thank you goes out to our World Polio Day Chair for District 7070, Jennifer Boyd.


Rotary began immunizing millions of children against polio in the 1970s, first in the Philippines and then in other high-risk countries.


When Rotary began the fight in 1985, polio affected 350,000 people, mostly children, 

in 125 countries every year. Since then, polio cases have dropped by more than 99.9 percent.

To date, Rotary has contributed $1.9 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect  more than two billion children.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative stands on the brink of history, thanks to Rotary's efforts since 1985,  by making polio only the second human disease to be stopped forever.


No child anywhere in the world will have to suffer from this completely preventable  disease. 

It only costs 60 cents to protect a child against polio for life.

Reaching the most vulnerable children with the polio vaccine leads the way to the delivery 

of other life-saving resources. A win against polio is a win for global health in the broadest sense: a true legacy.

Polio rates in those countries plummeted,” Ron Burton, Past Rotary International President  said. “As a result, in 1988, Rotary, the World Health Organization [WHO], UNICEF, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came together to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.  More recently, the initiative has benefited from the tremendous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation . . . . It is so very important to finish the job.”

Moreover, the polio endgame strategic plan, if fully funded, is equipped to stop outbreaks. The plan outlines strategies to reach children living in nomadic pastoral communities where population-wide immunity is low.

Today, all children everywhere can have a better future, not just against polio, but against every disease . . . if we as a global society get behind the vision of Rotary 30 years ago to reach every child with something as simple as polio vaccine.”

Polio is preventable. For as little as 60 cents US , a child can be saved from this dreaded disease. The global fight is winnable, noting that the number of cases in the endemic countries –Afghanistan, and Pakistan – is down 40 percent in 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. The the type 2 wild poliovirus has been eradicated, and   November 2013 marked one year without a case of type 3 virus anywhere in the world.

Since the global polio eradication initiative began in 1985, Rotary and its partners have reduced  polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide. 

We are on the verge of making history. In 1985, with the launch of its flagship PolioPlus program, Rotary became the visionary organization to take on the ambitious goal to end polio worldwide. At that time, polio crippled more than 350,000 children per year in 125 countries. Since 1985, we have mobilized other partners, governments, and communities to immunize the world’s children against polio. We’ve kept our promise to work toward eradicating this disease, and the leadership, commitment, and generosity of Rotary members has brought the world 99.9 percent of the way there.

Today, only Pakistan, and Afghanistan remain polio-endemic.

But we aren’t done yet. With every inch we gain against polio, we must redouble our efforts to protect that progress, and to eliminate polio from its final hideouts in some of the hardest-to reach parts of the world.

Why? No child should be crippled or die from a disease that is completely preventable. And the lessons we’ve learned from fighting polio — and the health infrastructure created to do so — pave the way for other lifesaving health interventions. This is a true legacy Rotary can be proud to leave for future generations.

There are only TWO countries  where the wild poliovirus  has never been stopped:  Afghanistan, and  Pakistan.

  • Fewer than 16 cases have been reported in Afghanistan so far in 2019. Strengthening immunization campaigns is key to stopping polio in the country.

  • According to experts, Pakistan will prove the biggest challenge to global eradication efforts. However, we’ve seen recent progress in Pakistan, with the country reporting 62 cases in 2019 .

This means there are only two endemic countries remain in the world.

  • This announcement comes on the heels of another important landmark earlier this week. One of the three strains of wild poliovirus (Type 2) was declared eradicated on September 21, 2015

  • However, the path to making history contains obstacles, and the complex political and security climates in both Pakistan and Afghanistan mean the wild virus continues to circulate in these two countries.

  • As we move forward, some strategic shifts are needed to address ongoing challenges, such as missed children, surveillance quality and low immunization rates in conflict areas.

  • An increase in resources of $1.5 billion will help Rotary and its partners to focus on the last and most vulnerable children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, while continuing to protect hundreds of millions of children already living in polio-free countries.

  • Africa’s countries have overcome significant challenges — including lack of security and difficulty reaching children in remote places — to protect their children from polio.

Rotary has played an important role in reaching these milestones.

Rotarians have dedicated their time and their personal resources to keep children safe from this disease by:

  • immunizing them,

  • donating money,

  • raising funds,

  • and urging governments to support the cause.

And in early 2014, we celebrated  one of the world’s greatest  achievements in global  health: India being declared  polio-free. India was once  considered the hardest place  on earth to stop polio. Now,  India’s success proves polio can  be stopped in even the most  challenging conditions.

The remaining  0.1 percent of polio cases are the most  difficult to prevent, due to factors such as geographical  isolation, poor public infrastructure, armed conflict, and  cultural barriers.

Rotary’s chief role is fundraising, advocacy, and  mobilizing volunteers. Other partners in the Global Polio  Eradication Initiative are the World Health Organization,  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UN Foundation, and UNICEF,  along with world governments. 

Every dollar Rotary raises (up to $50 million/year) will be  matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation . 

The fight to end polio is a massive effort that Rotary and its partners cannot do alone. We need everyone's help , even from  from governments, non-governmental organizations, corporations and the public. Our promise to the children of the world: to ensure that no child will suffer from this crippling disease ever again.