"Rotarians are symbols and examples of the search for progress and stability. All of them, each with a different business and profession have heavy duties of humanitarianism and have joined in co-operation in the glorious attempt to seek methods and means for the solution of problems we face in times of crises." -Royal Citation of His Majesty the King Rama IX (Patron of Rotary in Thailand), on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Rotary in Thailand, 15th December 1980.
Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, all Rotarians worldwide are united in a campaign for the global eradication of polio. In the 1980s, Rotarians raised US$240 million to immunize the children of the world.
Since beginning the project, Rotarians have contributed over US$600 million and tens of thousands of volunteer-hours, leading to the inoculation of more than two billion of the world's children. Inspired by Rotary's commitment, the World Health Organization (WHO) passed a resolution in 1988 to eradicate polio by 2000. Now in partnership with WHO, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary is recognized by the United Nations as the key private partner in the eradication effort.
There has been some limited criticism concerning the Rotary International program for polio eradication, which is supported with the help of World Health Organization. There are some reservations regarding the adaptation capabilities of the virus in some of the oral vaccines, which have been reported to cause infection in populations with low vaccination coverage. As stated by Vaccine Alliance, however, in spite of the limited risk of polio vaccination, it would neither be prudent nor practicable to cease the vaccination program until there is strong evidence that "all wild poliovirus transmission [has been] stopped". In a recent speech at the Rotary International Convention, held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Bruce Cohick stated that polio in all its known wild forms will be eliminated by late 2008, provided efforts in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India all proceed with their current momentum.