Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Many people today wouldn't recognize what this is and that's an amazing thing because it shows how much progress we've made against polio. It's a terrible disease and in most countries now, largely forgotten. The paralysis from polio starts with your legs and then can get up into this diaphragm area. A lot of people died simply because they can't breathe and that's where this comes in to help out. This is called an iron lung. It's a mechanical respirator. There's a pump down here that creates enough air pressure that even though your diaphragm is paralyzed, it allows you to keep breathing. Your head's sticking out here. It's pretty grim but it used to keep thousands of people alive. The height of the polio epidemic in the United States was in the 1940s and '50s. This used to be something that you could see rows and rows of in lots of hospitals, kids lying in here, and then that pump actually allowing them to breathe. The reason we don't have kids needing these anymore is because of the polio vaccine. We've reduced the number of cases by 99.9 percent. And now, wild polio is only in two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. During this pandemic, the world benefited from the precious resource of the polio program where all that personnel shifted their focus to help contain the spread of COVID-19. As much as we've achieved in the polio fight, I can't think of a more important time for us to double down and finish the job. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative has a great plan that will do more than just eradicate polio. They'll also raise vaccination rates and improve health very dramatically. This iron lung was a great tool, but now we need the iron will of everybody involved in this fight. And it's thanks to the commitment of Rotary and many other partners, that makes me confident we can create a world where no child will ever be paralyzed by polio again.