In 1985, there were more than 125 polio endemic countries. the disease killed or crippled more than 1,000 people a day, most of them children.
Rotary launched PolioPlus that year, a multimillion-dollar campaign to immunize the world's children against polio. in 1988, when the World Health Assembly resolved to wipe out the disease that had killed and paralyzed people for 5,000 years, Rotary immediately offered to be part of the eradication initiative. Rotarians continue, steadfastly committed to a polio-free world.
Since then, Rotary and its partners - The World Heath Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more recently the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - have staunchly led the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Rotary has helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children, mobilized public support for ending polio, contributed over $1 billion to the global polio eradication effort, and helped solicit financial support form donor governments resulting in over $9 billion in contributions.