The eradication of polio is one of Rotary’s longest standing and most significant efforts. Along with our partners, Rotary has helped immunise more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. We have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide and we won’t stop until we end the disease for good.
Rotary has mobilised a legion of volunteers who are providing support during vaccination campaigns, mobilising their communities for polio eradication activities, raising funds and awareness for polio eradication, and advocating for the cause with government officials. More than one million Rotarians worldwide have contributed toward the success of the polio eradication effort.
Rotary provides grant funding to WHO and UNICEF as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative for the following activities:
- Technical assistance including salaries for technical advisors
- Operational support to ensure the vaccine reaches all children; including stipends for the millions of volunteers who administer the vaccine and perform house-to-house follow up visits
- Surveillance for disease detection, including the polio laboratory network
- Social mobilisation to raise awareness of the vaccination campaigns and the benefits of immunisation
- Research into new products and approaches to facilitate eradication
- Transition planning to ensure the orderly transition of polio immunisation activities to routine immunisation following the eradication of polio.
By the time the world is certified polio-free, Rotary’s contributions to the global polio eradication effort will exceed US$2.2 billion, including US$985 million in matching funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Rotary’s contribution to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 1988 accounts for nearly 14% of all contributions through June 2017 and represents approximately 42% of private sector contributions. Rotary is the leading non-governmental voluntary organisation contributor to the GPEI.
To date, 122 countries around the world have benefited from PolioPlus grants. From the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, more than 17.4 million people, mainly in the developing world, who would otherwise have been paralysed, are walking because they have been immunised against polio. More than 650,000 paralytic cases of polio are now prevented every year. Since 1988, more than 2.5 billion children have received oral polio vaccine. In 2017, more than 430 million children were vaccinated in 39 countries using almost two billion doses of oral polio vaccine.
In 1988, 10% of the world’s children lived in polio-free countries; by 2016, over 95% were living in polio-free countries. The number of polio cases has declined by more than 99.9% from over 350,000 in 1985 to just 22 in 2017. Since 1988, the number of polio endemic countries declined from over 125 countries to just three in 2017 (Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan).