Rotary Announces Polio
US$35 Million to Support a Polio-Free World
EVANSTON, Illinois (20 September
2016) — Rotary today committed an additional $35 million in
grants to support the global effort to end polio, bringing the humanitarian
service organization's contribution to $105 million in 2016.
The announcement follows recent reports of
3 new cases of wild poliovirus in Nigeria: 2 cases in July, and
1 in August. The 3 cases are the first to be detected in Nigeria
since July 2014. With these cases, funding for polio eradication
is particularly vital as rapid response plans are now in action
in Nigeria and surrounding countries to stop the outbreak quickly
and prevent its spread. Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio
Eradication Initiative (GPEI) are acting to immunize children in
Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, northern Cameroon,
southern Niger and the Central African Republic). Nearly one-fourth
of the funds Rotary announced today ($8.15 million) will support
the emergency response campaigns in this at-risk region, and last
month Rotary provided $500,000 to immediately assist with the outbreak
While significant strides have been made against the paralyzing
disease, with just 26 cases reported in 2016, polio remains a threat
in hard-to-reach and underserved areas and conflict zones. "While
we are disappointed with the recent news coming out of Nigeria,
this situation underscores the extreme importance of widespread
immunization campaigns and strong disease surveillance in all countries
of the world until polio is fully eradicated," said Michael
K. McGovern, chair of Rotary's Int'l PolioPlus Committee. "This
funding will help ensure that Rotary and our GPEI partners are doing
all that we can to redouble our efforts and protect the progress
in polio-free parts of the world, as well as stop transmission in
Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now Nigeria."
To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, experts
say $1.5 billion is urgently needed. Without full funding and political
commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free
countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has contributed
more than $1.6 billion and countless volunteer hours to fight polio.
Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will
be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up
to $35 million a year.
Rotary launched its polio immunization program
PolioPlus in 1985, and in 1988 became a spearheading partner in
the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization
(WHO), UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
and was later joined by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted
by more than 99.9%, from 350,000 cases a year to 26 confirmed to
date in 2016.
In addition to supporting the response in the Lake Chad Basin region,
funding has been allocated to support polio eradication efforts
in Afghanistan ($5.55 million), Pakistan ($12.36 million), India
($875,000), Somalia ($1.77 million), South Sudan ($2.04 million),
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ($2 million). A final grant
in the amount of $2.25 million will support key WHO staff.
Polio Eradication Initiative