End Polio Now

End Polio Now

The Rotary campaign to eradicate polio started in 1985. Back then, around 1000 people became infected with polio every day, meaning around 350 000 children, usually under the age of 5, were paralyzed or died from polio every year. In the 1980s there were 125 polio endemic countries. Now, there are only three: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. In 2018 there were 31 wild polio cases. In addition, there were 102 vaccine-derived polio cases. These infections are unfortunate, but do not cause an epidemic. Wild poliovirus spreads the infection, so getting rid of it is paramount.

The Rotarians’ work to eradicate polio will not end until no child is in danger of contracting polio due to wild poliovirus. This is the promise they have made.

Polio has not been completely erased from Finnish society, either, for there are still people among us who have been paralyzed by polio as a child. It is however unlikely that there will be any new cases, thanks to comprehensive vaccinations. The only threat to this status quo is a possible decline in vaccination coverage.

District clubs showcase in different ways the work Rotary has done to rid the world of polio: selling EndPolioNow crocuses, field work at shopping malls, arranging events. Some clubs and Rotarians support Rotary by donating funds to the Rotary Foundation polio fund.

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