Since 1979, when Rotary Clubs in the Republic of the Philippines began a nation-wide drive to eradicate polio, Rotary has been at the forefront of global efforts to eradicate this dreaded disease that has crippled and killed so many children and adults.
 
\in 1985, Rotary enlisted the United Nations to form the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), with the goal of completely eradicating the disease. With the support of the United Nations, the U.S. Centers for Disease, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and unprecedented support from nations worldwide, has been successfully eradicated from all but two nations - Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Learn more: https://on.rotary.org/2Qn4lBp 
Rotarians worldwide contribute their hard-earned money to this campaign, our top philanthropic priority via our PolioPlus Fund, which is used to ensure that the campaign may continue until polio is completely eliminated from the face of the earth. Who would have though this possible in 1979? Yet, Rotarians led the way to marshal the peoples of the world to stay focused, even in the face of significant and often deadly obstacles, to accomplish this task.   
 
While even one case exists in the world, unvaccinated people worldwide are at risk. We must completely eradicate the disease and ensure that the vaccination campaign continues for several years so that we can ensure that polio, which spreads via sewage-contaminated water, is gone forever.    
 
There are many diseases the afflict us that can be attacked using the lessons learned in eradicating polio and in successfully eradicating smallpox, the very first disease to be successfully eliminated worldwide. Certainly, those lessons can be applied to malaria, dengue fever, Ebola, and, of course, Covid-19, to name a few.  Two of the most important lessons, among many, are - that we really can do it, and that, once started, we must marshal the drive and persistence worldwide to continue the effort to the end and the eradication of the disease.