Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined Rotary in its commitment to ending polio. As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has led a global initiative focused on ridding the world of the disease for 30 years now, which has already resulted in the reduction of polio cases by 99.9% since its first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.
Recent polio cases arise from two sources, the original 'wild' poliovirus (WPV), and mutated oral vaccine strains, so-called circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV). There were 140 diagnosed WPV cases worldwide in 2020, a decrease from 2019's 5-year high, an 81% reduction from the 719 diagnosed cases in 2000 and a 99.96% reduction from the estimated 350,000 cases when the eradication effort began in 1988. Of the three strains of WPV, the last recorded wild case caused by type 2 (WPV2) was in 1999, and WPV2 was declared eradicated in 2015. Type 3 (WPV3) is last known to have caused polio in 2012, and was declared eradicated in 2019.[7] All wild-virus cases since that date have been due to type 1 (WPV1). Vaccines against each of the three types have given rise to emergent strains of cVDPV, with cVDPV2 being most prominent, and such strains caused over 1,000 polio cases in 2020.
The same infrastructure that is used by Rotary to End Polio is now being used to vaccinate against COVID 19.
The Rotary Club of Dapto has been involved in this project for many years and each year on 24th October we donate funds and help to raise awareness by 'Riding the Train for Polio.