End Polio Now


What is Polio?

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a potentially deadly infectious and paralyzing disease that children under the age of 5 are commonly susceptible to. The virus is highly contagious, spreading from person-to-person typically through contaminated water which then targets and attacks the nervous system.

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Our Club member, Carol Lawton, providing vaccines to children


Rotary’s campaign to eradicate polio began in the Philipines in 1979 when Rotary International teamed up with the World Health Organisation and the Philippine Ministry of Health to vaccinate six million Filipino children. It didn’t stop there and, to this day, the eradication of polio is one of Rotary’s longest-standing and most significant efforts.

In 1985, Rotary International launched PolioPlus, the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative, with an initial fundraising target of US $120 million. By 1988, Rotary and the World Health Organisation launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and by 1994, the International Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication announced that polio had been eliminated from the Americas. In 1995, 165 million children in China and India were immunised in 1 week. By 2000, 550 million children received the oral polio vaccine and the Western Pacific region, spanning from Australia to China, is declared polio-free. 

Today, we have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. As a result, we have reduced polio cases by 99.9% worldwide. However, Rotarians will not stop until the disease is gone for good. Visit https://www.endpolio.org/ to learn more about the campaign and how you can help.