Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a paralysing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. Poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in hours. It can strike people of any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio can be prevented by vaccines, but it is not curable. Unlike most diseases, polio can be eradicated.
For more than 30 years, Rotary and our partners have driven the effort to eradicate polio worldwide and there are now only 2 countries continuing to report wild polio cases.  Our Polio Plus program was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication by vaccinating children on a massive scale. As a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary focuses on advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and awareness-building. More than 1 million Rotary members have donated their time and money to eradicate polio, and every year, hundreds of members work with health workers to vaccinate children in countries affected by polio.
 
Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from this paralysing disease. Rotary‚Äôs advocacy efforts have also played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.  
 
No child should suffer from this vaccine-preventable disease.  Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, nearly 19 million people who would otherwise have been paralysed are walking, and more than 1.5 million people are alive who would otherwise have died.