Polio Plus


Rotary, along with , has reduced polio cases by 99 percent worldwide since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need your help. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, here are some ways to make a global impact and protect children against polio forever.

Rotarians have helped immunize more than 2 billion children against polio in 122 countries. For as little as $0.60, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.

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.



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 $1.3 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 $9 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 370 polio cases were confirmed worldwide in 2014, which is a reduction of more than 99 percent since the 1980s, when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day.



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. Rotarians 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.


‘This Close’ Campaign

Rotary has a growing roster of public figures and celebrities participating in its “This Close” public awareness campaign, including Bill Gates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actress Archie Panjabi, action star Jackie Chan, golf legend Jack Nicklaus and South Korean pop-star Psy. These ambassadors help educate the public about polio through public service announcements, social media and public appearances.


The world is 99 percent polio-free. India and Nigeria are no longer polio-endemic. We are closer than ever to ending the crippling disease for good, yet we are in emergency mode. We don’t have the funding to finish the job. that’s why we need you to use your network of contacts to help stop this disease. advocacy is not the job of a small group of senior rotary leaders – it’s up to everyone to make sure polio stays on the global agenda. Write to your government officials. Use your social network to spread the word. provide a link to in your email signature. host a fundraising dinner to help fill the US$700 million* funding gap that holds us back. in this issue, you’ll find tips to help you share your voice. More tools, such as letter templates and graphics, are available at www. together, we will cross the finish line and leave a legacy of a polio-free world.

(1) it saves lives experts say if we choose to con
(2) it’s achievable We have the tools to end the disease and the means to reach all children. the new bivalent vaccine successfully targets the two remaining strains of polio in one dose.
(3) it’s a good investment an independent study published in the medical journal Vaccine estimates that the Us$9 billion global investment in a polio-free world will net an economic benefit of $40 billion to $50 billion over the next 20 years
(4) it strengthens the system our polio eradication efforts have established an active disease surveillance network in all coun
(5) it sets the stage the ability to reach all children with the polio vaccine is proof that we can succeed on our next major global health initiative