The Polio Eradication Partners

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For centuries, Poliomyelitis has been one of the most dreaded diseases on earth.  It has crippled and killed millions of people.  Hundreds of thousands of individuals who were stricken with the disease spent the rest of their lives in iron lungs.  Parents lived in fear that their children would either be crippled for life or might even die.  Then, in 1952, Dr. Jonas Salk created the first Polio Vaccine and in 1954 more than 1.8 million children participated in the field trials of the new vaccine.  Following the successful trials, more than 10 million children in five countries were immunized by the end of 1955

In the late 1950's Dr. Albert Sabin worked on the development of an oral polio vaccine and on  in 1961 the vaccine was approved for use.   Because it was so easy to administer and gave longer-lasting immunity, the oral vaccine became the weapon of choice in the global campaign to eradicate polio.  In 1985, Rotary International set its primary goal to eradicate polio worldwide using the Sabin vaccine.  By 2008, more than 2 Billion children in 122 countries had been immunized against polio and today, there are only four countries which are still polio endemic..

It is these four endemic countries (India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan) that represent the "last inch" in achieving the goal.  The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a partnership with the single objective to achieve Rotary's goal.  The GPEI consists of five major partners who are working closely together to insure that polio will be fully eradicated worldwide.  Following is information on each of these partners.

Rotary International (RI)

When Rotary took on Polio eradication in 1985, the goal was considered to be audacious and unreachable. Here is what Bill Gates, Sr. had to say about it in his book "Showing Up For Life".

"More than 20 years ago, when most volunteer efforts were aimed at solving problems that existed down the street, Rotary took on a global fight nobody believed they could win.  A fight to end polio worldwide.

Since then, Rotary has revolutionized our thinking about the possibilities that exist for ordinary people to significantly change the world. 

What they have accomplished since then defies description.  Worldwide, cases of polio have declined by 99%.  Rotary members have done everything from spending their vacations immunizing children in faraway places, to lobbying heads of state, to negotiating cease-fires in civil wars long enough to get millions of children vaccinated.

They've shown us how to mobilize people, raise more money than anybody thought volunteers could, and create private-public partnerships that can take on large-scale global problems.

I believe - as do most experts - that Rotary will achieve its audacious goal of eradication global polio.  Along the way they have taught us that when we are inspired to work together in the interest of an engaging cause, there is no problem bigger than we are."


Centers for Disease Control (CDCs)

The mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to serve as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and health education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.

To accomplish its mission, CDC identifies and defines preventable health problems and maintains active surveillance of diseases through epidemiologic and laboratory investigations and data collection, analysis, and distribution; serves as the PHS lead agency in developing and implementing operational programs relating to environmental health problems, and conducts operational research aimed at developing and testing effective disease prevention, control, and health promotion programs; administers a national program to develop recommended occupational safety and health standards and to conduct research, training, and technical assistance to assure safe and healthful working conditions for every working person; develops and implements a program to sustain a strong national workforce in disease prevention and control; and conducts a national program for improving the performance of clinical laboratories.

CDC is responsible for controlling the introduction and spread of infectious diseases, and provides consultation and assistance to other nations and international agencies to assist in improving their disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion activities. CDC administers the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and specific preventive health categorical grant programs while providing program expertise and assistance in responding to Federal, State, local, and private organizations on matters related to disease prevention and control activities.

World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

WHO has a six point agenda:

  1. Promoting Development
  2. Fostering Health Security
  3. Strengthening Health Systems
  4. Harnessing Research, Information and Evidence
  5. Enhancing Partnerships
  6. Improving Performance.

You can read the entire document by clicking here

United Nations International Childrens' Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.

UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behavior towards children.

UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress.

UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families.

UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities.

UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. In coordination with United Nations partners and humanitarian agencies, UNICEF makes its unique facilities for rapid response available to its partners to relieve the suffering of children and those who provide their care.

UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority.

UNICEF aims, through its country programmes, to promote the equal rights of women and girls and to support their full participation in the political, social, and economic development of their communities.

UNICEF works with all its partners towards the attainment of the sustainable human development goals adopted by the world community and the realization of the vision of peace and social progress enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The 15 principles below reflect the Gates family's beliefs about the role of philanthropy and the impact they want this foundation to have. The principles guide what we do, why we do it, and how we do it.

While many of them are fundamental to the way we operate, we will remain open to amending them as we grow and learn more about our work.

Guiding Principle #1: This is a family foundation driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family.

Guiding Principle #2: Philanthropy plays an important but limited role.

Guiding Principle #3: Science and technology have great potential to improve lives around the world.

Guiding Principle #4: We are funders and shapers—we rely on others to act and implement.

Guiding Principle #5: Our focus is clear—and limited—and prioritizes some of the most neglected issues.

Guiding Principle #6: We identify a specific point of intervention and apply our efforts against a theory of change.

Guiding Principle #7: We take risks, make big bets, and move with urgency. We are in it for the long haul.

Guiding Principle #8: We advocate—vigorously but responsibly—in our areas of focus.

Guiding Principle #9: We must be humble and mindful in our actions and words. We seek and heed the counsel of outside voices.

Guiding Principle #10: We treat our grantees as valued partners, and we treat the ultimate beneficiaries of our work with respect.

Guiding Principle #11: Delivering results with the resources we have been given is of the utmost importance—and we seek and share information about those results.

Guiding Principle #12: We demand ethical behavior of ourselves.

Guiding Principle #13: We treat each other as valued colleagues.

Guiding Principle #14: Meeting our mission—to increase opportunity and equity for those most in need—requires great stewardship of the money we have available.

Guiding Principle #15: We leave room for growth and change.