With only less than 40 cases of polio reported worldwide last year, Rotary International is rallying together to make that number zero.
“Not only are you eradicating one of the worst diseases, you are also providing people with better help and a better future,” said Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was one of many guest speakers at Rotary International’s End Polio discussion June 12 at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, part of its annual convention. Rotary started its quest to end polio, a crippling disease that affects the nervous system, in 1985 with a goal to raise $185 million. The organization ended up raising $247 million that year, and since then has raised over $1.6 billion with help from partner organizations. These organizations include the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and, since 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.