Rotary International was founded in 1905 and is the world's first and one of the largest non-profit service organizations. Rotary has a network of over 30,000 clubs spread over 200 countries with a membership of over 1.2 million members. Rotary initiates community projects that address many of today's most critical issues such as violence, hunger, the environment, AIDS and health care.
Launched in 1985, the PolioPlus program is the most ambitious program in Rotary's history. The initiative is an aggressive public-private partnership to assist International Health Agencies and Governments in eradicating polio and certifying the world Polio free by 2005, Rotary's centennial.
Rotary has contributed an impressive amount of US $ 546 million for this programme till date. By 2005, Rotary's financial commitments will be US $ 611. Apart from financial commitments, Rotary volunteers assist in vaccine delivery, social mobilization and logistic management in cooperation with the national Health Ministries of various countries, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
PolioPlus Program in India
It was in the year 1986, PolioPlus program made a formal debut in India when Rotary International provided a US $ 2.6 million grant to Tamil Nadu for the purchase of Polio vaccine. The nation-wide focus on PolioPlus began a year later, when US $ 20 million were made available for the purchase of Oral Polio Vaccine, surveillance activities, social mobilization and Cold Chain support.
Between 1991 and 1994, immunisation drives in the form of Shishu Suraksha Diwas (Child Protection Days) were organized all over India by Rotary Clubs and Rotarians in their respective areas. Besides this, Rotary started vigorous and consistent advocacy efforts and eventually succeeded in convincing the Govt. of India about the need for launching Pulse Polio immunisation all over the country, to emulate what had been successfully done in several other countries.
The Govt. of the National Capital Territory of Delhi took the initiative of launching the first Pulse Polio Immunisation in 1994. The Govt. of India followed suit a year later in 1995-96, by designating two National Immunisation Days(NIDs).Since then series of NIDs have been conducted successfully. In 1999, this programme was intensified in order to meet the global deadline. The number of NIDs were increased and "House to House" strategy was adopted to reach every child. In 2001 the strategy of intensive Mop-up immunisation was also introduced to interupt the wild Polio virus circulation in endemic districts. In 2001-02 as many as 159 million children between the ages of 0 to 5 were immunised.