Polio is a highly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5. It’s spread person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can attack the nervous system and, in some cases, lead to paralysis. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine—one which Rotary and our partners have used to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide.
Since Rotary decided in 1988 to eliminate polio worldwide, we’ve reduced cases by 99.9% and polio can now only be found in three countries: Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. But until we eradicate polio, within 10 years, as many as 200,000 new cases could occur around the world each year.
No child anywhere is safe until we’ve vaccinated every child. National Immunization Days (NID’s) are mass immunization events held to assist the eradication of the poliovirus. This year, our own Sherry Neuman traveled to India where she and the other Rotarians on her team were able to vaccinate hundreds of children with just a drop in their mouth. You can learn more about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio here.