Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GILP) marked World Polio Day on 24 October 2019 with an important milestone: confirmation that the second type of wild poliovirus has been eradicated, an important step towards achieving the ultimate goal of a polio-free world.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced the historic event during a global online video address to Rotary International on October 24. He said an independent panel of health experts had certified the global elimination of the type 3 strain, which had not been detected anywhere in the world since Nigeria identified the polio case it caused in November 2012. The type 2 strain was certified as destroyed in 2015.
"Only wild poliovirus type 1 remains," Tedros said. He also praised Rotary's long fight against polio. "Everything you [Rotary] have done has brought us much closer to a polio-free world."
If eradicated, polio will follow smallpox as the second human disease to disappear from the world.
Rotarians of the world have contributed more than $2 billion to polio eradication since the polioplus program began in 1985 and intend to raise $50 million annually. U.S. on polio eradication activities.