World Polio Day 2023

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 7, 2023, 13:07

World Polio Day is a day to remember the havoc of the polio outbreak in the early 20th century. Every year on 24th October, organizations and individuals around the world come together to pledge against polio eradication. Polio Day is the right opportunity to renew the commitment to polio eradication by spreading awareness about the disease.

World Polio Day was officiated by Rotary International to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, developer of the first successful polio vaccine. On this day, parents around the world are urged to vaccinate their children against polio. Learn more about this day below.

Polio Day 2023

Polio Day 2023 will be celebrated globally on 24th October 2023. This day is observed annually to mark the progress made by the world in polio eradication. It highlights the efforts of the frontline workers who supply vaccines in polio-hit countries. On World Polio Day, global organizations urge parents and guardians around the world to vaccinate their children against this disease.

Event Name

World Polio Day

Organized By

Rotary International

Observed In

All Countries of the World

World Polio Day Celebrated On

24th October 2023


To spread awareness about polio eradication and urge parents to vaccinate their children

World Polio Day 2022 Theme

Every year, World Polio Day is celebrated around a unique theme. The global and local events to be organized on the day are based on the theme decided for the year. The theme for Polio Day 2022 has not been announced yet. However, it is expected to be announced soon. Take a look at the previous year's theme below.

World Polio Day Theme 2021

The theme for World Polio Day 2021 was "Delivering on a Promise." This theme focused on emphasizing the global efforts made by numerous organizations to make the polio vaccine accessible. Through this theme, the 'promise' of eradicating polio globally was reiterated.

History of World Polio Day

Polio was declared a public health emergency in the early 20th century when it was paralyzing thousands of children every year. It was only brought under control after the introduction of polio vaccines in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1985, Rotary International officially established World Polio Day. Since then, every year, on 24th October, organizations, and individuals worldwide come together to urge all parents to vaccinate their children against polio.

  • Rotary International established World Polio Day in 1985.
  • After this, the world committed to eradicating polio in the forty-first World Health Assembly in 1988, 33 years ago. This led to the origin of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to fulfill this commitment.
  • Since then, a staggering 99.9% reduction in polio transmission cases has been achieved globally, with 5 out of 6 WHO regions certified polio-free.
  • Every year, on Polio Day, the campaign for a polio-free world is reignited.
  • In June 2021, the GPEI launched the revised strategy for polio eradication called the Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026.
  • The five-year strategy identifies remaining obstacles to eradicating polio in high-risk countries to devise a stronger plan. Many of the new tactics and approaches outlined in this plan have already been implemented.

History of Polio Eradication:




The first significant polio outbreak occurred in Vermont, United States.


Ivar Wickman, a Swedish physician, identified polio as a contagious disease.


Physicians Erwin Popper and Karl Landsteiner of Vienna discovered that a virus causes polio.


A major outbreak killed 2,000 people in New York and 6,000 across the United States.


An artificial respirator was invented for people suffering from paralytic polio.


Dr. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine that was considered safe and effective.


The US government licensed the oral polio vaccine developed by Dr Albert Sabin.


Rotary International began its fight against polio. A multi-year project was launched to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines.


Rotary International launched PolioPlus, an internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative. It also officiates World Polio Day.


Rotary International and the WHO launched GPEI.


Polio was announced to be eliminated from the Americas.


China and India immunized 165 million children in a week.


A record 550 million children (almost 10% of the world's population) were administered the oral polio vaccine.


The Rotary Foundation raised $119 million in a 12-month campaign.

Six countries remained polio-endemic: Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Niger, Nigeria, and Pakistan


Africa saw the largest polio immunization effort- 80 million children were targeted in 23 countries.


Four countries that remain polio-endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria, India and Pakistan


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $355 million, along with a Rotary $200 million grant. With this, Rotary's overall contribution to polio eradication is nearly $800 million.


Celebrities and public figures joined Rotary's awareness campaign called "This Close" to end polio.


India records zero cases for one year and is removed from the endemic list.


India is declared polio-free by WHO. Since 1988, polio cases have gone down by over 99% globally.


Nigeria records zero cases for three years.


Africa and its nearby regions are declared polio-free by WHO.

Polio Day in India

India remains of the countries that are still affected by the polio virus. So, the government of India launched National Polio Day in the country to declare a nationwide polio eradication program. Under this program, healthcare workers ensured that the polio vaccine reached every household and every child in the country. India became polio-free in January 2014 after reporting zero cases for three years. The last wild poliovirus case was reported in Howrah in West Bengal on 13th January 2011.

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FAQs on World Polio Day

Q1. What is World Polio Day?

World Polio Day is a day marked to vouch for global polio eradication. This day is observed on 24th October every year. On this day, organizations and individuals pledge against polio eradication and encourage parents around the world to vaccinate their children.

Q2. When is World Polio Day celebrated?

World Polio Day is celebrated on 24th October every year. The tradition of the day can be traced back to 1985 when Rotary International officiated the day. This day is observed globally to demand polio eradication and the delivery of polio vaccines to every corner of the world.

Q3. What was the theme of Polio Day 2021?

World Polio Day theme 2021 was "Delivering on a Promise." The theme for Polio Day is different every year. For this year, Rotary International has not announced the official theme yet.

Q4. Who established World Polio Day?

Rotary International established World Polio Day in 1985 to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, developer of the first successful vaccine against poliomyelitis. Since then, 24th October has been celebrated as World Polio Day.