Rotary announces US $96.5 million to end polio

On August 15, 2018 Rotary announced nearly $100 million in grants to support the global effort to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year.

The announcement comes as Nigeria marks two years without any reported cases of wild poliovirus, following four reported cases in 2016.

“The fact that no new cases of wild poliovirus have been detected in Nigeria points to the improved surveillance and rapid response protocols Rotary and its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners have established, particularly in insecure and inaccessible areas,” said Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. “While this progress is promising, it’s time to redouble our efforts so we can continue to maintain the political and financial support necessary to end polio for good.”

While significant strides have been made against the paralyzing disease, wild poliovirus is still a threat in parts of the world, with 10 cases in Afghanistan and three cases in Pakistan this year so far. As long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk, which underscores the need for ongoing funding and political commitment to eradication.

To support polio eradication efforts in countries where polio remains endemic, Rotary is allocating the majority of the funds it announced today to Afghanistan ($22.9 million), Pakistan ($21.7 million), and Nigeria ($16.1 million).

Further funding will support efforts to keep 12 vulnerable African countries polio-free:

  • Cameroon ($98,600)
  • Central African Republic ($394,400)
  • Chad ($1.71 million)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo ($10.4 million)
  • Guinea ($527,300)
  • Madagascar ($690,000)
  • Mali ($923,200)
  • Niger ($85,300)
  • Sierra Leone ($245,300)
  • Somalia ($776,200)
  • South Sudan ($3.5 million)
  • Sudan ($2.6 million)

Africa will also see $5.8 million in funding for surveillance activities and $467,800 for technical assistance. Additional funding will go to Bangladesh ($504,200), Indonesia ($157,800), Myanmar ($197,200), and Nepal ($160,500), with an additional $96,300 funding surveillance in Southeast Asia. The remainder of the funding ($6.6 million) will go to the World Health Organization (WHO) for research activities.

Rotary has committed to raising $50 million a year to be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, yielding $450 for polio eradication activities over a three-year period. To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion to fight the disease, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, and countless volunteer hours since launching its polio immunization program, PolioPlus, in 1985. In 1988, Rotary became a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Gates Foundation later joined. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to 22 confirmed in 2017.

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit rotary.org and endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.

Contact: Audrey Carl, audrey.carl@rotary.org, 847-866-3424