Nigeria’s polio-free year marks another remarkable achievement in the global fight for eradication. Watch our film to learn more about how Rotary and UNICEF’s joint efforts are paying off — and bringing us that much closer to a polio-free world.
Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that causes paralysis and even death. Children under five are most susceptible to the disease. Polio is incurable, but it is easily preventable with a simple vaccine.
UNICEF and Rotary, a global network of volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges, are working together in the fight to end polio forever by 2018. Since UNICEF and Rotary began their partnership in 1988, both organizations, as members of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have played a fundamental role in dramatically decreasing the number of polio endemic countries. In 1988, an estimated 350,000 cases of paralytic polio occurred; at that time, polio was endemic in 125 countries. Today, polio remains endemic in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rotary funds critical elements of UNICEF’s polio eradication programs, such as national immunization days, polio vaccine delivery, and training of health workers. Rotary’s network of volunteers in more than 200 countries and regions has also worked with UNICEF in the field to ensure that the poorest, most isolated children are immunized against polio.
The fight to end polio continues to be marked by great progress. Among the most significant advances: the World Health Organization's March 2014 declaration that India is polio free and the September 2015 announcement that Nigeria had been removed from the list of polio-endemic countries. These achievements are possible through the efforts of UNICEF, Rotary and partners to eradicate the disease worldwide by 2018.
Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. As signified by the motto Service Above Self, Rotary’s main objective is service—in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.