For World Polio Day on Sunday 24 October 2021 Rotarians from around District 9640 hit the tracks to raise awareness to eradicating Polio. Here is a little highlight video of what the Train Ride to End Polio is all about.

Stretching between Grafton, Goondiwindi and the Gold Coast District 9640 has 58 clubs and approximately1300 Rotarians.

World Polio Day was initiated by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who developed a vaccine against poliomyelitis. The day is celebrated every year on 24 October.

Use of inactivated poliovirus vaccine and live oral poliovirus vaccine led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. That is a public-private partnership includes Rotary, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the countries.

World polio status today

Since1988 there is a 99.9% reduction in polio cases. Now the African region is also free of wild poliovirus. Only two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan) continue to report wild polio virus.


Around the world, people who support the fight to end polio take pride in Rotary’s End Polio Now logo. It shows that we are part of a monumental effort to eliminate a human disease for only the second time in history. This logo marks the polio vaccine coolers used on National Immunization Days. It’s printed on clothing and has been projected onto iconic buildings. It was even taken to the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro as a flag.

Rotary International Polio Eradication

Sir Clem Renouf, the 1978-79 Rotary International president who helped propel Rotary toward its top goal of eradicating polio worldwide, died at age 99 in 2020, with work still left to do before his dream of a polio-free world could be realised.
Renouf was a member of the Rotary Club of Nambour, Queensland, Australia, for 70 years. He served as RI director, Foundation trustee, district governor, RI committee member and chair, and International Assembly discussion leader.
In early 1979, on a flight home from the Philippines, Renouf read a magazine story about the eradication of smallpox. He wondered if Rotary’s new Health, Hunger and Humanities (3-H) Grants could be used to eliminate another disease. They, for the first time, allowed Rotary projects to be taken on by more than just one club or district.
Under Renouf’s leadership, Rotary’s board passed a resolution to focus predominantly on polio eradication as part of the organisation's Health, Hunger and Humanity program in 1979. Because non-health professionals can administer the oral polio vaccine, Rotarians raised millions and delivered the vaccinations themselves to children in the Philippines to help eradicate polio there.
In a conversation with PDG Professor Graham Jones, AM from Rotary Club of Griffith Gold Coast, on the 'End Polio Now' tram ride organized by Rotary District 9640 on the Gold Coast on Friday 22 October, Professor Graham said,
"Sir Clem Renouf started the polio campaign in 1978 by trying to eradicate polio in the Philippines and they managed to do that over the next 4-5 years. That got World Health and the Centre for Disease Control and other groups interested in trying to eradicate polio. In 1985 there was 350,000 cases per year in polio and in 2021 we are down to 2 only.
Circulating-derived polio virus occurs when the polio virus in people in some countries gets into waterways and sewage systems. And that creates some cases of polio picked up in that way, but they're able to control those very quickly. And of course they will disappear as soon as people start taking the vaccine. I believe there is also a new vaccine out that doesn't go through the body systems and get into waterways and ground and so forth, so, it's just a great challenge that's been almost met with billions of dollars being spent."
PDG Professor Graham Jones, AM (Centre)
Polio remains endemic in just two nations, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Polio, however, has the potential to come back at any time. In fact, if polio immunisation campaigns were to stop, upwards of 200,000 individuals per year could be affected within a decade.