End Polio Now

Polio Project Story

  • 1979

    Rotary International begins its fight against polio with a multi-year project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines.

  • 1985

    Rotary International launches PolioPlus, the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative, with an initial fundraising target of US$120 million.

  • 1988

    Rotary International and the World Health Organization launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. There are an estimated 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries.

  • 1994

    The International Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication announces that polio has been eliminated from the Americas.

  • 1995

    Health workers and volunteers immunize 165 million children in China and India in 1 week. Rotary launches the PolioPlus Partners program, enabling Rotary members in polio-free countries to provide support to fellow members in polio-affected countries for polio eradication activities.

  • 2000

    A record 550 million children – almost 10% of the world’s population – receive the oral polio vaccine. The Western Pacific region, spanning from Australia to China, is declared polio-free.

  • 2003

    The Rotary Foundation raises $119 million in a 12-month campaign. Rotary’s total contribution to polio eradication exceeds $500 million. Six countries remain polio-endemic – Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan.

  • 2004

    In Africa, synchronized National Immunization Days in 23 countries target 80 million children, the largest coordinated polio immunization effort on the continent.

  • 2006

    The number of polio-endemic countries drops to 4 – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Pakistan.

  • 2009

    Rotary’s overall contribution to the eradication effort nears $800 million. In January, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $355 million and issues Rotary a challenge grant of $200 million. This announcement will result in a combined $555 million in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

  • 2011

    Rotary welcomes celebrities and other major public figures into a new public awareness campaign and ambassador program called ”This Close” to ending polio. Program ambassadors include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu, violinist Itzhak Perlman, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates, Grammy Award-winning singers Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley, and environmentalist Dr. Jane Goodall. Rotary’s funding for polio eradication exceeds $1 billion.

  • 2012

India surpasses 1 year without a recorded case of polio, and is taken off the polio-endemic list. Only 3 countries remain polio endemic. Rotary surpasses its $200 Million Challenge fundraising goal more than 5 months earlier than plan.