In 1985, Rotary launched PolioPlus, an ambitious program to immunize the world’s children against polio. Rotary’s grassroots leadership, volunteer support, and initial funding for vaccine provided the catalyst for the World Health Assembly’s resolution in 1988 to eradicate polio worldwide. Spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are the World Health Organization, Rotary International, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.
As a result of this partnership’s efforts, polio cases have dropped by 99 percent since 1988 and the world stands on the threshold of eradicating the disease. Rotary
members have given more than US$650 million and countless hands-on volunteer hours to this critical effort.
The savings to be realized from polio eradication is potentially as high as $1.5 billion per year — funds that could be used to address other public health priorities. The savings in human suffering will be immeasurable.