PolioPlus:  In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Rotary has contributed more than $1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $9 billion to the effort. Global Polio Eradication Initiative The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, formed in 1988, is a public-private partnership that includes Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world. Rotary’s focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness-building.
Polio Today:  Today, there are only two countries that have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Less than 370 polio cases were confirmed worldwide in 2014, which is a reduction of more than 99.9 percent since the 1980s, when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day. Challenges The polio cases represented by the remaining one percent are the most difficult to prevent, due to factors including geographical isolation, poor public infrastructure, armed conflict and cultural barriers. Until polio is eradicated, all countries remain at risk of outbreaks.
Ensuring Success:  Every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year through 2018. These funds help to provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents. Governments, corporations and private individuals all play a crucial role in funding.
Rotary in Action:  More than one million Rotary members have donated their time and personal resources to end polio. Every year, hundreds of Rotary members work side-by-side with health workers to vaccinate children in polio-affected countries. Rotarians work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute mass communication tools to reach people in areas isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. Rotary members also recruit fellow volunteers, assist with transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.
‘This Close’ Campaign:  Rotary has a growing roster of public figures and celebrities participating in its “This Close” public awareness campaign, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; actresses Kristen Bell and Archie Panjabi; WWE superstar John Cena; supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; action movie star Jackie Chan; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman; Grammy Award winners A.R. Rahman; Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley; and peace advocate Queen Noor of Jordan.
These ambassadors help educate the public about polio through public service announcements, social media and public appearances.
Last week, global political commitment to eradicating polio was affirmed at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. During the polio agenda item, member states discussed progress made in the last year and the remaining hurdles that stand in the way of polio eradication.    In her opening address to the WHA, Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO, said polio eradication has never been so close to the finish line. “During the short span of 2 weeks in April, 155 countries successfully switched from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine, marking the largest coordinated vaccine withdrawal in history. I thank you and your country teams for this marvellous feat,” she said.  - See more at: http://www.polioeradication.org/mediaroom/newsstories/Global-Leaders-Commit-to-Polio-Eradication-at-World-Health-Assembly-/tabid/526/news/1384/Default.aspx#sthash.mrvMZ8Y5.dpuf
Rotary international spoke to affirm that their 1.2 million volunteers worldwide remain fully committed to polio eradication. “We have three key challenges remaining,” said the Rotarian speaker. “First, we have to interrupt polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Second, we must avoid complacency. An additional US $1.5 billion is needed through 2019 to sustain high levels of immunity, repeatedly reaching more than 400,000,000 children in up to 60 countries and carrying out high quality surveillance to protect progress. Finally we must fully leverage the physical and intellectual assets of polio eradication so that they can benefit broader public health priorities.”  - See more at: http://www.polioeradication.org/mediaroom/newsstories/Global-Leaders-Commit-to-Polio-Eradication-at-World-Health-Assembly-/tabid/526/news/1384/Default.aspx#sthash.mrvMZ8Y5.dpuf