World Polio Day 2017
World Polio Day 2017 was on Tuesday 24 October and the 5th annual World Polio Day event was co-hosted with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, USA and streamed live from Gates Foundation headquarters, bringing together more than 100,000 viewers around the world. A video featuring global health experts and celebrities sharing Rotary progress on the road to polio eradication can be viewed here.
World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. Use of this inactivated poliovirus vaccine and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus, developed by Albert Sabin, led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. To date this year there have been only 12 cases of poliovirus in two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan), and the Gates Foundation is optimistic polio could be completely wiped out this year nearly two years earlier than Bill Gates predicted.