Africa is Polio Free with help from Rotary

Posted Monday 31st August 2020 12:08

South Woodham Ferrers Rotary Club has played an important role in a significant global public health achievement, as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) African region has officially been certified wild polio-free.

Polio is a debilitating viral disease mainly affecting children, which can cause paralysis and even death.

This incredible milestone is the result of decades of effort from Rotary clubs and volunteers around the world, who have fundraised, campaigned, and worked tirelessly since Rotary pledged to rid the world of polio more than 30 years ago.

SWF Rotary Club was formed in 1982 and have 35 members and we have played our part over the years and have contributed towards the End Polio Now campaign.

 We have raised funds to go towards the worldwide effort as well as creating and raising awareness in children and the public with the Purple Crocus planting campaign in local schools.

Overall, our club has contributed some £30K via our efforts and with public and Community support but we have still been able support local charities.

Rotary worldwide has directly contributed more than US$2 billion to ending polio since 1985,

The certification comes 4 years after Nigeria, the last polio-endemic country in Africa, recorded its final case of wild polio and now means the WHO’s six regions, five of those – accounting for 90% of the world’s population – are free from polio.  

Globally, more than 2.5 billion children have been protected against the disease, which have reduced the number of cases by 99.9% from around 1,000 cases per day in 125 countries.

This is a terrific landmark in the world’s battle to eradicate polio. Although it has been many years since polio has been present in the UK and Ireland, we are proud to have contributed to the global efforts to eliminate the disease for good.

We remain committed to making the final, challenging steps towards making a polio free world a reality.

We need to finish the job, it is estimated that, within 10 years, as many as 200,000 children annually all over the world could succumb to polio, including here in the UK.

Despite this significant milestone being reached, the job to fully rid the world of polio goes on, as the virus continues to circulate in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In order to sustain this progress, vaccination programmes must continue to protect every last child and strengthen routine immunisation to keep immunity levels high, so the virus does not return to Africa or other parts of the world, including the UK. The virus can literally be a plane journey away so continuing vaccination is so important. ] Why not join us to continue the fight by visiting SWF Rotary website at and learn what we do on & use the “Contact us” button your contact details so that we can talk about Polio and Rotary in general. World Polio Day on 24th October]