Posted by Chuck Lubbers
World Polio Day is a day to remind us about our commitment to eradicate Polio.
What is our commitment: In 1978 Rotary chose, as its primary project, a hope to eradicate Polio from this world. We then realized that we cannot do this alone. We started to look for partners and formed an alliance with several nations and organizations with the same vision. In 1988 that alliance formed the” Global Initiative to Eradicate Polio”, where all partners would consolidate their funds and the initiative then will design and implement a program to eradicate Polio from the world. Our Rotary agreed to pledge $50 million each year. Gates foundation joined the Global Initiative later and agreed to match our Rotary Polio Plus Funds 2:1.
What have we achieved: Of the three Polio strains we have already eradicated Type 2 and 3. Type 1 is still active in three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Mozambique. Intense work is being done in these countries to reach our final goal. We have got the commitment from Taliban to help in this effort.
Why is Polio still a concern for us in USA?
There are 800,000 individuals who are not vaccinated in our country. In those who have been vaccinated we are not sure how much of effective immunity is still there to protect us against Polio. As we all know certain vaccine loses its effectiveness over time as the DPT vaccine. So, as long as one child is affected with Polio somewhere in the world, all our children are in danger of getting exposed and several becoming crippled, given the ease of international travel. It will take just one individual with asymptomatic Polio to bring it to our country.
Our concern:
Last year Rotary Polio Plus fund fell short by several million to reach the goal of $50 million. This would have resulted in further loss by losing the 2 to 1 match from Gates foundation. Rotary Foundation shifted funds from its commitments for other projects to Polio funds to make the $50 million mark.
What can we do now? 
  • Use the World Polio Day Resources to help your club or you as an individual to help promote this day.
  • We are at the “last mile of the marathon” to eradicate Polio. Let us continue our commitment for this cause.
  • We will continue to show our obligation to protect our children and their future. Together we can do this.
  • As Rotarians let us sustain our hope and dream by contributing to the Polio Plus fund and by raising awareness about polio in our communities.
Dr. Ashok Kumar
Chair, Polio Plus Committee