Rotary International started the global fight to end polio in 1985 when there were over 350,000 cases reported in 120 countries. Now it's down to three remaining countries.
 
To date this year there are 16 reported cases of polio in Pakistan, 12 in Afghanistan and four in Nigeria, which last year was thought to be polio free. That total of 32 cases worldwide compares favourably with a total of 52 at the same time in 2015. So progress continues to be made.
 

Dr. King explaining containment of polio down to the village level such as this one in Tanzania which she visited last year.

One reason polio eradication is so slow in some countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan is the constant threat of attack, as indicated by armed guards and one polio worker, all with bullet proof vests.

Dr. Arlene King, interim Executive Medical Director for Population and Public Health, and Medical Health Officer at the Fraser Health Authority, is an internationally recognized expert in public health, immunization, infectious diseases and pandemic/emergency preparedness. 
 
On the international level, Dr. King is a member of the:
  • World Health Organization (WHO) Global Certification Commission for Polio Eradication;
  • WHO African Region Certification Commission for Polio Eradication;
  • Chair of the WHO Americas Region Certification Commission for the Polio Endgame;
  • Technical Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization for the Americas;
  • International Health Regulations Expert Roster for infectious diseases. 
King says: “There is intense surveillance and intense immunization activity going on in areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. So we’re looking harder. So the fact they we’re looking harder and finding fewer cases is an indication that progress is being made in all the areas still endemic (regularly found among particular people or in a certain area and transmittable) for polio.”
When Type 2 of the wild polio virus was officially declared eradicated across the world in September 2015, a push began to drop Type 2 from the vaccine.
 
Something which should be a source of pride for Rotary, in its long, sustained battle against polio, King said, came in April 2016 with “the switch” when countries across the world still administering polio vaccine switched from a vaccine to fight three types of polio down to one to fight two.
 
“The switch was probably the biggest, single, global polio immunization activity ever.”
 
It is estimated that it will cost another $1.5 billion to completely eradicate polio in the world, in the way small pox was in the past. There is the cost of continuing the fight to immunize children which continues, but there is also the cost of containing polio where it exists and certifying complete eradication has been achieved, from the global level down to the village level, so the virus does not flare up again. “If you want to know how your money is being spent, there’s a lot of people looking under a lot of rocks. And the stakes are big. At some point – I can’t say when – we will stop immunization against polio. So the stakes are very high. We want to be sure we don’t have any polio left in the world.”