Fighting Disease

Rotary members play a key role in bringing the world to the brink of polio eradication. Rotary clubs across the world have contributed more than 1.2 billion dollars and countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than 2 billion children in 122 countries. Rotary is close to eliminating the second human disease in history—after smallpox—with a 99% reduction in polio cases worldwide since 1985. However, polio knows no borders, and the virus can therefore reappear in previously polio-free countries. That is why Rotary International and its partners have been relentless in this fight.

Rotary’s program to eradicate polio, called PolioPlus, has been Rotary International’s primary effort for over 30 years and has been described as the finest humanitarian project by a nongovernmental organization the world has ever known. Rotary has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts.

Rotary members also lead efforts to fight and prevent a host of diseases from malaria to diabetes, and provide health care and education.

Our members of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia focus efforts on…

the eradication of polio, with events that raise funds for the inoculation of children in countries where polio is still prevalent. In the past several years, the club has provided for the inoculations of more than 11,000 children from this debilitating and sometimes deadly disease.

And our Foundation has awarded grants to provide funding for:

  • The Ethiopian Rheumatology Project, to increase access to rheumatology care in Ethiopia where there is only limited treatment for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, gout, osteoarthritis. By having an educated advocate and availability of medication and diagnostic tools, the project lowers the rates of disability and mortality, and improves the quality of life for Ethiopians.

  • Rotaplast, an international program which began as a project of the Rotary Club of San Francisco, to help children born with facial and palate deformities live a normal life. Teams of volunteers comprised of Rotarians, surgeons, and nurses take part in medical missions throughout the world. The most recent award provided funding for cleft palate surgeries for three children in a Guatemalan mission.

Read more about efforts to end polio


Banner image © Rotary International/Alyce Henson