October 17, 2020
 
Rotary's involvement with the End Polio campaign began in 1979 with a multi-year project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. Since then, along with our global partners, we have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. We have helped to reduce polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide and we won't stop until we end the disease for good.
 
In 1985, Rotary launched PolioPlus to bring many added benefits to the polio eradication efforts. The “plus” could be providing a hand-operated tricycle for a polio survivor, or providing access to clean water in a community. It might be additional medical treatment, bed nets, or soap. A 2010 study estimates that vitamin A drops given to children at the same time as the polio vaccine have prevented 1.25 million deaths by decreasing susceptibility to infectious diseases.
 
October 24 is World Polio Day, a time for Rotarians and Rotaractors across the globe to raise awareness about our work to eradicate polio for good. If we stay committed to this mission, polio will be the second human disease ever to be eradicated. The eradication of polio is one of Rotary's longest-standing and most significant efforts.
 
In our fight to end polio, Rotary has used its collective strength to defeat this devastating disease in almost every part of the world. This year, the World Health Organization’s African region was certified free of wild poliovirus – showing that eradication is possible even in very difficult circumstances. Wild poliovirus still paralyzes children in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as long as polio exists anywhere, it remains a threat everywhere.