Polio Plus

“The goal of the PolioPlus program is the global certification of polio eradication. By eradication, WHO, the Global Commission on Certification and Rotary mean the interruption of the transmission of the wild poliovirus.”

Despite tremendous progress in reducing the incidence of polio, it still exists. Polio will continue to threaten children everywhere as long as it exists somewhere. In this age of global travel, a new outbreak of polio might only be a plane ride away.

What you need to know:

  • Polio is a highly infectious disease that primarily affects children under the age of three and can cause paralysis within hours.
  • Before eradication efforts began in 1988, polio paralyzed more than 1,000 children a day, which totaled about 350,000 children annually. The incidence of polio has since declined by more than 99 percent.
  • Vaccinations easily can stave off polio. Vaccinations have prevented an estimated 500,000 children per year from contracting polio. A child can be protected against polio for as little as 60 cents (US) worth of vaccine.
  • Today, polio cases are only found in three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
  • Rotary International is the spearheading member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and is the second largest private sector donor.  According to PolioEradication.org, contributions from Rotary from 1985 to 2016 totaled more than $1.5 billion to the polio eradication activities in 122 countries. In addition, tens of thousands of Rotarians have partnered with their national ministries of health, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and with health providers at the grassroots level in thousands of communities.

After 25 years of hard work, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of eradicating this tenacious disease, but a strong push is needed now to root it out once and for all. It is a window of opportunity of historic proportions.

A polio-free world is within our grasp. Join Rotary’s effort to end this crippling disease. Learn more about Rotary’s ongoing effort to eradicate polio and how you can help through contributions to PolioPlus and PolioPlus Partners.  Delane Wycoff, District 5630 Polio Plus Chairman, can answer your questions regarding Rotary’s quest to finish the job and rid the planet of the wild polio virus; a feat that is referred to as “Rotary’s gift to the children of the world.” Contact Delane at delanew@charter.net if you need help.

Reaching the ultimate goal of a polio-free world presents ongoing challenges, not the least of which is a US$535 million funding gap through 2012. Of course, Rotary alone can’t fill this gap, but continued Rotarian advocacy for government support can help enormously.

As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk. The stakes are that high.

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

– Bill Gates

Please visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website to “End Polio Now”.