Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5.
Most know it as poliovirus. The virus is spread person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can attack the nervous system, and in some instances, lead to paralysis. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine – one which Rotary and our partners use to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide.
The fight to end polio is led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which includes Rotary, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world, with the support of many others around the globe.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private funding source of the GPEI and matches all donations to Rotary for polio 2-to-1, up to $35 million per year. It provides technical support and invests in research to enhance polio vaccines, surveillance, and outbreak response.
Rotary uses its members’ skills and passion to build awareness, fund-raise, and encourage governments to donate to and support polio eradication efforts. Over one million Rotary members have volunteered their time and resources to help end polio.