In August 2019, Nigeria reached three years without a case of wild poliovirus.   A year later, on the 25th of August 2020, the continent of Africa was declared polio-free.
October 24 was World Polio Day and recognizes Rotary International’s immense contribution to the global effort at combating the crippling disease. Through TRF and matching grants by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the poliovirus is on its way to becoming history.  Since 1996, Rotarians from across Africa and around the world have raised funds, immunized children, and promoted vaccinations all aimed at eradicating polio.  More than 9 billion doses of oral polio vaccine have been provided throughout Africa preventing almost 2 million cases of paralysis.
Every year about 2 million volunteers help vaccinate over 430 million children against polio in Africa. Rotarians all over the world have contributed almost $890 million toward polio eradication efforts in Africa.  With the Gates matching funds, TRF has spent a staggering $1.6 billion on polio eradication. The funds have allowed Rotary, through TRF, to issue PolioPlus grants to fund polio surveillance, transportation, awareness campaigns, and National Immunization Days.
Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee was recently honored by TIME Magazine for his leadership in that nation’s polio eradication effort, and noted the impact that Rotarians have had on polio eradication efforts in Africa.  Dr. Funsho said, “From raising funds and immunizing children, to providing ‘polio plusses,’ such as soap and health kits, Rotary members have shown resilience and steadfast dedication to our top priority of ending polio….no child in Africa will ever again be paralyzed by wild polio, a disease that once disabled 75,000 children every single year in Africa.”
“I am from a generation who has witnessed the devastating effects of polio.  When I discovered how close we were to eradicating polio, I was very motivated to be a part of this movement.  It is so rare when you can accomplish something so spectacular.”  - (Angelique Kidjo, Beninese Singer-Songwriter)