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End Polio Now

End Polio Now Image
End Polio Now logo graphic
Image of World Polio Day 2023 logo

For over 30 years Rotary International has been working towards the eradication of polio throughout the world. This has not just been by raising funds, but by persuading governments to do their bit, providing volunteers to help with immunisation across the world and working closely with the World Health Organisation and other similar bodies.

Polio is now only endemic in two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan with just 22 cases reported in 2022 and only 12 cases throughout 2023.

A single vaccination costs 20 cents and the aim is to vaccinate all children up to the age of 5 in endemic and at risk countries until the disease is eradicated.

For every dollar raised by Rotarians around the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matches it 2 to 1. Rotary has raised over $1.8 billion to help End Polio Now.

The latest information from Rotary International can be found here.

Image of Bob Chadwick on Mt Elbrus

In August 2019 as part of the Club's fund raising to End Polio Now, Past President and current Secretary Rotarian Bob Chadwick climbed to the top of the highest mountain in Europe, Mt Elbrus in Russia.

At our Charter Night meal in October 2019, Heather Williams, wife of our President Elect, Neil, presented a home made cake to President Ravi Sharma and District Governor Patrick Tyrell to mark RGBI's Purple 4 Polio campaign. A collection on the night raised a tidy sum.

Purple for Polio Cake image

In February 2020 Presidential Nominee Rotarian Merrilyn Chadwick travelled to Australia and climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge along with her husband Rotarian Bob Chadwick.


Her aim was to raise £1,240 to signify £1 for every mile in length of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two remaining endemic countries for Polio.


Merrilyn achieved her goal and when matched 2 to 1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this will allow over 18,500 children to be immunised against Polio.

Polio Free Africa Image
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Tuesday 25th August 2020


Today, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Africa region, has officially been certified free from wild poliovirus, signifying a major milestone in the battle to eradicate the disease worldwide.

This certification has come four years after Nigeria, the last polio-endemic country in Africa, recorded its final case of wild polio and is an incredible public health achievement for Rotary members, the African region, and Rotary’s partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

This progress is the result of a decades-long effort across the 47 countries which make up the WHO’s African region and now means that five of the six WHO regions, which represent 90% of the world’s population, will be free of polio

Efforts to get to this momentous stage have involved millions of health workers traveling by foot, boat, bike and bus to reach children, innovative strategies to vaccinate those living among conflict and insecurity, and a huge disease surveillance network to test cases of paralysis and check sewage for the virus.

In 1996, Rotary and our partners joined with Nelson Mandela to jumpstart Africa’s commitment to polio eradication. Since then, 9 billion doses of oral polio vaccine have been provided, averting an estimated 1.8 million cases of wild poliovirus on the continent.

Rotary members have played an invaluable role in the effort to rid the African region of wild polio.

By raising funds for polio eradication, advocating with world governments and national and local leaders, and raising awareness, Rotarians have contributed nearly US $890 million to conquer polio in the region.

Despite this incredible public health milestone, the job to fully rid the world of polio goes on, as the virus continues to circulate in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Vaccination programmes must continue to reach every last child and strengthen routine immunisation to keep immunity levels high, so the virus does not return to Africa.

Rotary members across Great Britain and Ireland remain committed to making the final, challenging steps towards a polio free world a reality.

Events will be taking place across the world on 24th October, to mark annual World Polio Day.

WPD 2020 Announcement Graphic
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24th October 2020 - World Polio Day

To celebrate World Polio Day, raise awareness of the End Polio now campaign and to raise vital funds for the the immunisation of children in the 'at risk' countries, 8,000 crocus corms were purchased by Rotary Rochdale and planted across our our town.

President Neil Williams was joined by his wife Heather and Past Presidents Irene Davidson and Bob Chadwick along with members of Pennines in Bloom to plant around 1,000 bulbs alongside the Rochdale Canal in Littleborough.

Image of Crocus Planting
Image of Crocus planting
Image of crocus planting

The President then sped across to lead a team including Rotarians Maureen Barker and Paul Rowen to plant bulbs in Taylor Park, Bamford with help from the Rochdale in Bloom team.

Image of crocus planting
Image of crocus planting
Image of crocus planting
Fill Your Plate for Polo Image
Image of Coffee Cream Roll

Sylvia and Selwyn's Coffee Cream Roll

Image of a Cheesecake

Bob's Irish Chocolate Cheesecake

Image of Black Forest Roulade

Heather's Black Forest Roulade

It was decided to use our annual Pudding Evening to celebrate Rotary Day 2021 and raise funds for the End Polio Now campaign. Heather Williams, wife of President Neil circulated some recipes for members to follow if they didn't have their own favourite. Puddings were then shown via Zoom at the March Friend's Evening. Heather also did a live cookery demonstration making a Chocolate Pavlova Roulade, whilst Rtn Neil Helliwell and his wife, Inner Wheel President, Nicola, tested members knowledge of puddings with 20 pictures featuring everything from Baked Alaska to Sweet Potato Cake.

Maureen's Lemon Drizzle Cake

Image of Lemon Drizzle Cake

Linda's Rhubarb and Cinnamon Tart

Image of Rhubarb & Cinnamon Tart

Margaret's Lemony Pudding

Image of Lemony Pudding

Ravi's Carrot and Cashew Cake

Image of Carrot Cake
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January 2023

Each year Rotary Clubs purchase crocus corms to bloom with purple flowers in spring to bring attention to the End Polio Now campaign that has been running for many years. In late 2022, the Rotary Club of Rochdale donated two boxes of corms to the Rochdale In Bloom organisation. They in turn with with several groups in the borough to plant them. Here are some pictures of the people in action.

Image of crocus planting
Image of Crocus planting
Image of crocus planting
Image of crocus planting

The groups involved with the planting were Springhill Hospice, Petrus Community Garden, Kingsway Dementia Support Group and Social Prescribing in Kirkholt.

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