A Rotary program...
1985: 350,000 cases annually
2013: 406 cases, worldwide
At the time that Rotary formalised its eradication efforts by creating the PolioPlus program in 1985, polio was killing or paralysing more than 1,000 children per day.
Since then, thanks to Rotary and our partners, the world has seen polio cases plummet by well over 99 percent. In the process, more than ten million children who would otherwise have been paralysed, and 250,000 children who would otherwise have died, have been spared these fates.
India — long considered a country where it would be simply impossible to eradicate the disease has not had a case since 13th January, 2011 and has been declared polio free.
That means there are now just three countries where polio remains endemic — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, and outstanding progress has recently been made in Afghanistan and Nigeria.
After decades of hard work and tenacity, Rotary and our partners are on the brink of eradicating this shocking disease. However the job is not done yet, serious risks remain and a strong push is needed now to root it out once and for all. It really is a window of opportunity of historic proportions.
The polio cases represented by that final fraction of a percent are by far the most difficult and expensive to prevent. Challenges include geographic isolation, worker fatigue, armed conflict, and cultural barriers.
That's why Rotarians continue to raise funds. To date, Rotary has contributed well over US$1.2 billion to the polio eradication effort.
For the latest information on the fight against polio, please visit the end polio now website