In 2008, a new partnership was been formed between Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide a much needed US $200 million toward the priority of a polio-free world


What were the Terms of the Grant?


The Gates Foundation has awarded The Rotary Foundation a $100 million grant, which Rotary will match, dollar-for-dollar, over a three year period.  This was formally launched July 1, 2008 and is projected to be completed December 2010.  This was Rotary's response to the Gates challenge grant.


Now , the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged an additional $255 million if Rotary will provide an additional $100 million. To date, $108 million has been raised by Rotary. We are a little more than halfway!


Why is more funding for Polio Eradication required?


Over the past few years, polio eradication efforts have intensified by increasing the number of supplementary immunization activities in the polio-endemic, high-risk, and importation countries.  India for example, is conducting immunization activities almost monthly in some areas and reaching tens of millions of children during each activity.  The increased effort is requiring additional resources.


In 1985, Rotary promised every child a world free from the threat of polio and we are almost there.  This funding agreement between Rotary and the Gates Foundation is a huge step forward, bringing us even closer to our ultimate goal of eradicating polio.  We have the technical tools to do it, and now we must complete the job.


Is progress being made in polio eradication?


Tremendous progress continues to be made in polio eradication.  Since Rotary launched the PolioPlus program, the number of polio cases has decreased by more than 99% and the number of polio endemic countries has fallen from 125 to 4.  The number of polio cases reported globally was 1596 in 2009 compared to 1651 in 2008.  In the four polio-endemic countries (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan & Nigeria), wild poliovirus circulates in very limited geographic areas.


What are Rotary clubs and Rotarians being asked to do?


Rotary club and Rotarian participation in this effort is crucial to making PolioPlus a success.  Each club is being challenged to raise a minimum of $1000 annually for PolioPlus over the next three years