Check out what Frontlines covered  25 years ago, in its November 1985 edition. On page 2 read about how former USAID Administrator Peter McPherson announced that 1990 was  the goal to end polio in the western hemisphere. Although  it took four more years to meet that goal, in 1994 Western Hemisphere was certified polio-free, followed by the Western Pacific Region (2000) and the European Region (2002).

Frontlines Cover from Nov 1985Beginning in the mid-1980s, USAID provided $50 million, about one-half of the total donor assistance to polio eradication programs in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and it was this initial large-scale financial investment  that contributed to the eventual eradication of the disease in the region.

Following successful investments in eradicating polio in the Americas from 1988 -1994, in 1996 USAID joined the global Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI), a public-private partnership with international organizations; civil society and governments.

Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases in more than 125 endemic countries, to 1997 reported cases in 2006.

In 2008, only parts of four countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria – remain ed endemic for the disease. In collaboration with WHO and other partners, USAID continues to provide technical and financial assistance to achieve global polio eradication with an estimated $500 million invested to date.