World Polio Day 2017

Updates from the CDC Center for Global Health

October 24, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

October 24 is World Polio Day, and it is an opportunity for the global polio eradication community to renew its promise of a polio-free world for future generations. This year’s theme is “A Celebration of the Unsung Heroes of Polio Eradication.” There are many unsung heroes working to make polio eradication possible:  vaccinators, community volunteers, frontline health care workers, surveillance and laboratory staff, and civil society.

Unsung Heroes of Polio Eradication

In 2016, the world saw the lowest ever number of wild polio cases with only 37. To date in 2017, there have been 12 polio cases reported from two of the three remaining polio endemic countries:  Afghanistan (7) and Pakistan (5). Since 1988, progress against polio has been strong and consistent, with cases reduced by over 99.99%. High-quality polio vaccine campaigns and innovative methods for reaching every child have restricted the virus and put polio eradication within our reach.

The progress made in polio control has been led by the Global Polio Eradication InitiativeExternal (GPEI), a public-private partnership led by national governments with five core partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

India Polio

As long as polio exists anywhere, it is a threat to children everywhere.  It is essential that the world remains as committed as the unsung heroes of polio who work tirelessly to reach every child with vaccine. It is crucial that the global community remains vigilant and maintains the highest possible levels of political and financial commitment to ending the disease forever. This commitment will enable GPEI to continue efforts to maintain worldwide disease detection and robust vaccination efforts so the virus can be detected and stopped wherever it exists.

Building on our collective accomplishments, CDC remains committed to working with partners and countries around the world to eradicate polio. These extraordinary efforts have paved the way for not only polio vaccines, but also other critical health services to reach children in some of the most remote areas of the world.

As we continue to work towards a polio-free world, we acknowledge the unsung heroes of polio eradication as they work to reach the last mile. The annual Rotary International World Polio Day event this year will be held at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.  Please join this livestreamed event on October 24 at 2:30 pm PDT, ( to share our progress on the road to polio eradication. Also, please find CDC’s World Polio Day social media toolkit here.

/Rebecca Martin/

Rebecca Martin, PhD
Director, Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

/William W. Schluter/

William W. Schluter, MD, MPH
Director, Division of Global Immunization
Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Page last reviewed: November 1, 2017
Content source: Global Health