End Polio Now

ROTARY AND POLIO

End Polio Now
Polio
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens
children in some parts of the world. The poliovirus invades the nervous system and can
cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. It can strike at any age but mainly affects
children under five. Polio is incurable, but completely vaccine-preventable.

PolioPlus
In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio
eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Rotary has contributed more than
$1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in
122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by
donor governments to contribute more than $7.2 billion to the effort.

Global Polio Eradication Initiative
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, formed in 1988, is a public-private partnership
that includes Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and
governments of the world. Rotary’s focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer
recruitment and awareness-building.

Polio Today
Today, there are only two countries that have never stopped transmission of the wild
poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Less than 75 polio cases were confirmed
worldwide in 2015, which is a reduction of more than 99.9 percent since the 1980s,
when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day.

Challenges
The polio cases represented by the remaining one percent are the most difficult to
prevent, due to factors including geographical isolation, poor public infrastructure,
armed conflict and cultural barriers. Until polio is eradicated, all countries remain at
risk of outbreaks.

Ensuring Success
Every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year through 2018. These funds help to
provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment,
and educational materials for health workers and parents. Governments, corporations
and private individuals all play a crucial role in funding.

Rotary in Action
More than one million Rotary members have donated their time and personal resources
to end polio. Every year, hundreds of Rotary members work side-by-side with health
workers to vaccinate children in polio-affected countries. Rotary Members work with
UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute mass communication tools to
reach people in areas isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. Rotary members also
recruit fellow volunteers, assist with transporting the vaccine, and provide other
logistical support.

Rotary has a growing roster of public figures and celebrities participating in its “This
Close” public awareness campaign, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation; actresses Kristen Bell and Archie Panjabi; WWE superstar John Cena;
supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond
Tutu; action movie star Jackie Chan; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf
legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman;
Grammy Award winners A.R. Rahman; Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley; and peace
advocate Queen Noor of Jordan. These ambassadors help educate the public about polio
through public service announcements, social media and public appearances.

Testimonials

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Jodie Darley