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Ridding the world of Polio – 2021

If you are 60+ the chances are you will be aware of how the paralyses caused by polio can range from needing artificial respirators through to irreversible damage with partial or total loss of the use of limbs.

Well, because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, its estimated almost 19 million people are walking today who would have otherwise been paralyzed.

The crocus planting Banbury Rotary Club has carried out to brighten up various parts of the town also acts to highlight the “purple for polio” campaign.

Members of Banbury Rotary Club make financial contributions to Rotary Foundation Fund for whom ridding the world of polio is a key project consuming $152 of its total $362 million budget for 2019/20

The Banbury Club also organises fund raising activities such as the Crocus concerts and Children Singing for Children concerts where a significant chunk of the monies raised go to polio eradication.

In a typical year the club contributes around £3000+ to the end polio campaign and this is then double matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to £9000 That’s enough to purchase vaccine for 10,000 children!

The timeline below shows you just how far Rotary has got in eliminating this disease. Despite the self-evident challenges in finally eradicating it in the remaining affected countries (Afganistan and Pakistan) the project goes on in the hope that – like smallpox – this disease will finally be wiped from the face of the planet.


A major polio outbreak in New York City kills more than 2,000 people. Across the United States, polio takes the lives of about 6,000 people, and paralyzes thousands more.


Philip Drinker and Harvard University’s Louis Agassiz Shaw Jr. invent an artificial respirator for patients suffering from paralytic polio — the iron lung.


A vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk is declared “safe and effective.”


The U.S. government licenses the oral polio vaccine developed by Dr. Albert Sabin.


Rotary International begins its fight against polio with a multi-year project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines.


Rotary International launches PolioPlus, the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative, with an initial fundraising target of US$120 million.


Rotary International and the World Health Organization launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. There are an estimated 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries.


The International Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication announces that polio has been eliminated from the Americas.


Health workers and volunteers immunize 165 million children in China and India in 1 week. Rotary launches the PolioPlus Partners program, enabling Rotary members in polio-free countries to provide support to fellow members in polio-affected countries for polio eradication activities.


A record 550 million children – almost 10% of the world’s population – receive the oral polio vaccine. The Western Pacific region, spanning from Australia to China, is declared polio-free.


In Africa, synchronized National Immunization Days in 23 countries target 80 million children, the largest coordinated polio immunization effort on the continent.


The number of polio-endemic countries drops to 4 – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Pakistan.


Rotary’s overall contribution to the eradication effort nears $800 million. In January, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $355 million and issues Rotary a challenge grant of $200 million. This announcement will result in a combined $555 million in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.


Rotary welcomes celebrities and other major public figures into a new public awareness campaign and ambassador program called “This Close” to ending polio. Program ambassadors include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu, violinist Itzhak Perlman, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates, Grammy Award-winning singers Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley, and environmentalist Dr. Jane Goodall. Rotary’s funding for polio eradication exceeds $1 billion.


India surpasses 1 year without a recorded case of polio and is removed from the list of countries where polio is endemic. Polio remains endemic in just 3 countries. Rotary surpasses its $200 Million Challenge fundraising goal more than 5 months earlier than expect


India goes 3 full years without a new case caused by the wild poliovirus, and the World Health Organization certifies the South-East Asia region polio-free. Polio cases are down over 99% since 1988


Nigeria goes 3 full years without a new case caused by the wild poliovirus


The World Health Organization certifies the African region wild polio-free.

Come and join us make the world a better place and enjoy friendship and fun in the process!

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