Polio Plus Initiative

The Story of PolioPlus

In 1985 Rotary International launched PolioPlus, the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative, with an initial pledge of $120 million to eradicate polio globally in 10 years. By 1988, $247 million had been raised and the World Health Assembly passed a resolution to eradicate polio, paving the way for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

The last indigenous case of polio occurred in 1991 and by 1994 the Western hemisphere was declared polio-free. In 1995, Rotarians and other volunteers immunized 165 million children in China in a single week. In 1997, 134 million children were immunized in India on a single day. In the year 2000, 550 million children, almost one-tenth of the world’s population, received the oral polio vaccine. In the same year the Western Pacific region, from Australia to China, was declared polio-free.

By 2003 Rotary’s total contribution to polio eradication exceeded $500 million and only 7 countries remained polio-endemic. Today only 4 countries remain polio-endemic: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. In 2009, Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged a combined $555 million, including Rotary’s $200 Million Challenge, in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Polio Plus


To find out how you can help eradicate polio, visit the Rotary PolioPlus web site.