In 1985, Rotary International initiated PolioPlus - a program to with the goal of immunizing all of the world's children and to eradicate the disease from the face of the earth within 20 years. Thus far Rotarians have contributed more than $800 million and volunteer hours too numerous to count to to vaccinate more than 2 billion children in 122 countries. In 1988, Rotary, the World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF joined forces to create the Global Polio Prevention Initiative. This successful colaboration has reduced the incidence of polio by more than 99 percent. In 1988, more than 125 countries were considered to be polio-endemic and more than 350,000 children were paralyzed by the disease each year. Since 1988, more than 2 billion children have received the polio oral vaccine. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenged Rotary with a $355 million grant. Rotary pledged to raise an additional $200 million in matching funds to directly support the immunization campaign in the remaining 4 polio-endemic countries. To date, wild poliovirus has been eradicated from 123 countries in the world and is now considered to be endemic only in the 2 countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Reported cases have decreased 99.8 percent, from 350,000 in 1988 to fewer than 1,700 in 2008. As of September 2013 there were only 76 reported cases of Wild Polio Virus in the 2 remaining endemic countries.
On September 21, 2015, the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (GCC) officially verified the worldwide eradication of wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2). The last detected WPV2 dates to October 1999, from Aligarth, Northern India.
You can help with this legacy by making a donation to your Rotary Club.
Rotary's Legacy to the World