A laboratory worker in Pakistan testing for the presence of polio virus in the sewage in high-risk locations.

Is it worth our while to raise millions of dollars for polio eradication?

Article by PDG Murray Verso, End Polio Now Coordinator
Each year, Rotary members organize events, hold special club meetings, seek media publicity, and encourage donations from Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike to reach our annual End Polio fundraising goal of US 50 million dollars. Raising $50 million enables us to maximize the 2:1 match from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Is it worth our while going to all this trouble to raise $150 million? How does Rotary spend this money?
The End Polio funds raised by Rotarians are used to support the activities of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and are targeted at the geographical areas of greatest need. Expenditure is not only used to provide polio vaccines but also to fund polio vaccinators and vital disease surveillance activities.
Each year, Rotary’s International Polio Committee, chaired by Past RI Director and Past Foundation Trustee, Michael McGovern, determines how the $150 million will be spent. Most of our funds are channelled through the World Health Organization and UNICEF, the implementing partners of the GPEI.
As can be seen from the accompanying pie chart, in 2022-23, Rotary funds supported polio eradication efforts in the two endemic countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Funds also supported polio outbreak response activities and vaccines in many countries in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean Region including Chad, Ethiopia, Zambia and Somalia, to name a few. The “other” category represents Rotary support for surveillance, research, and technical experts at the World Health Organization.