Polio is a potentially fatal virus that attacks the central nervous system and paralyzes primarily children under 5-years-old almost immediately. It is incurable, yet preventable. To fight this disease Rotary International launched a campaign in 1985 called PolioPlus. The campaign started with a promise to eradicate the disease globally and since successfully immunized over 2.5 billion children in 122 countries, an effort of $9 billion.
In 1988 Rotary joined forces with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments across the world to create the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
In the 1980s the world had about 1,000 cases of polio a day, in 2014 there were only 370 cases in the world. India was the last country to become polio-free with its last case on January 13, 2011 and the WHO certified it polio free in 2014. Today the only two countries where the wild poliovirus exists are Afghanistan and Pakistan and the promise to eradicate globally continues.