Polio Eradication
A Rotary Success Story
Every year Rotary Clubs around the world celebrate World Polio Day on October 24 as global experts and partners share our progress on the road to polio eradication.
Rotary has been working with a public-private partnership led by national governments with six 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 and Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance) as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to eradicate polio for more than 35 years. Our goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever.
As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we’ve reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.
Rotarians have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort. Locally, our Club in Brandon has contributed to this campaign annually since its inception in 1985.
Rotary’s participation in the program, known as Polio Plus, was formally started in 1985 through the Rotary International Foundation and continues today. Two drops of serum on the tongue of a child at a cost of $3, protects a child for life! The scope of the annual program is reflected in the numbers from 2017 when 430 million children were vaccinated in 39 countries.
Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the caution is that it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.
Information on Global Polio Eradication Initiative is accessible on the initiative website (https://polioeradication.org/who-we-are/).  My thanks to the Brandon Sun for providing us the opportunity to share this Polio Plus program information with your readers and my thanks to all who support our club in our many community service projects.
Alan Moulin
President 2020-22
Rotary Club of Brandon #1344