Polio Eradication

Polio Chair Nelson R. Maler

The eradication of polio has been the signature effort of Rotary International. Polio is a fatal disease that is known to cripple and kill children under the age of five. Rotary’s number one priority since 1985 has been the eradication of polio. This disease was eradicated in the United States in 1979, but the vaccination effort does not stop.

In 1985, there were 350,000 known cases per year in 125 countries. Today there are only two countries — Pakistan and Afghanistan — that have never been certified Polio free. Thanks to the efforts of Rotary and its partners, Nigeria and the entire continent of Africa became Polio free in 2015. As a society, we must continue to vaccinate children in these regions, because as long as Polio exists anywhere, all children are at risk.

Rotary has contributed both funds and volunteer efforts to assist in the eradication of this disease. Unfortunately, all of the time, effort, and money spent on this cause will be wasted unless we can put an end to polio for good. Without the help of individual Rotarians, the disease remains a threat as it continues to spread in remaining countries and can just as easily make its way back to the United States.

“If we all have the fortitude to see this effort through to the end, then we will eradicate polio.”

Bill Gates

ways Rotarians can help end Polio:

Join the PolioPlus Society – Pledge $100, or more, each year until polio is eradicated.

Find out more about:

  • Improving public health infrastructures
  • Tracking potential Polio incidents
  • Maintaining routine, high levels of immunization
  • Holding National Immunization drives in any of the countries where Polio exists or at-risk countries for all children under the age of five
  • Re-immunizing areas where cases of Polio have been reported
  • Donating to the PolioPlus Fund

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