Rotary, a humanitarian service organization with nearly 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas, made polio eradication its top priority nearly 30 years ago. When the initiative started, more than 350,000 people were stricken by polio every year – nearly 1,000 new polio cases every day. In 2013, there were only about 400 cases, a 99% reduction in cases!
Today, only three countries (Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan) have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus. However, in 2014, several polio outbreaks prompted the World Health Organization to declare polio a public health emergency of international concern. This decision puts additional measures in place to ensure we protect our incredible progress against polio, and also end the remaining 1% of cases.
If the world continues to make polio eradication a top priority, Rotary and its partners are on-track to achieve a polio-free world by 2018.
As the world stands on the verge of victory over polio, it is important to recognize that amazing things can happen when forces join together for a common good. Of note, under a current fundraising agreement with Rotary, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match 2:1 donations to Rotary to end polio. Learn more about donations and the fight to end polio now by visiting www.endpolionow.org.