International & World Community Service
The 'End Polio Now' campaign.
Fryers Garden Centre kindly allowed the Rotary club of Knutsford to collect money from the sale of purple crocus badges in June. This was part of the Rotary "End Polio Now" campaign.
Older people will remember the scourge of polio.
Each summer children would be terrified of catching the disease that resulted in paralysis or death. There was, and still is, no cure. But in 1955 the preventative Salk vaccine went into production. Developed countries quickly immunised all their children, but this still left 350,000 children in poorer countries catching the disease each year.
In 1985 Rotary International started a project to immunise all children in the world. They worked with organisations such as UNICEF, Centres for Disease Control and many health agencies and volunteer organisations with the result that the number of cases dropped to about 1,000 in 2010.
In India, immunisation programmes were held every 6 weeks with as many as 65 million (yes, you read that correctly, 65 million) children immunised in a single day.
We are now left with just three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, where the disease still exists. But the nature of the disease is such that it cannot be eradicated until ALL children in the world have been vaccinated. However, reaching the last few million is proving very difficult, dangerous and very expensive.
Rotary International has been joined by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (of Microsoft fame) to help this last final push.