United States of America

Ending Polio                                                                               

What is polio?

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a paralyzing and potentially deadly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5. The virus spreads from person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can then attack the nervous system.

Our goal

  • Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 30 years. Our goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever. As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we've reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.

We've helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. So far, Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion toward eradicating the disease worldwide.

Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.

By the numbers

  • $3.00 - the average cost to fully protect a child against polio
  • 430million - total number of children vaccinated in 39 countries in 2017

$100million - the cost to conduct polio surveillance worldwide


The Facts


  • Polio mainly affects children under age 5.


  • There is no cure, but polio is preventable with a vaccine, one which Rotary and our partners use to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide.


  • Only two countries remain endemic.


  • We’ve reduced cases by 99.9% since 1988.


  • Until we end polio forever, every child is at risk