Rotary Club of Broadstairs
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The work of Rotary in the eradication of Polio
THE ROTARY POLIOPLUS CAMPAIGN
Those of us who are older will remember the crippling effect of polio on some of our childhood friends. Although it was being brought under control in western countries it was still rampant across the world, mostly affecting children and at its peak claiming almost 1,000 new cases EVERY DAY.
The map on the left below shows the spread in 1985 when Rotary started its campaign to totally irradicate this disease. At that time it was endemic in 125 countries. The map on the right shows the dramatic improvement following 23 years of the Rotatary PolioPlus Campaign. There are now only 4 countries with endemic disease and so far in 2010 there have only been 597 new cases.
|1985 - POLIO SPREAD||2008 - POLIO DECLINE|
The Rotary Club of Broadstairs can only claim to be a very small cog in this successful medical health campaign but along with every other Rotarian we contribute regularly through the Rotary Foundation Charitable Fund.
The solution was found in 1955 by Jonas Salk who developed a vaccine for polio. Albert Sabin followed in 1963 with an easy to administer oral vaccine. Routine vaccination for polio is standard in many countries as a result. The last case of natural Polio infection in the UK was found in 1982, and ten years ago the continent of Europe was declared polio-free. However one of the problems is that diseases don't recognise land borders, so that even though many countries are no longer endemic, cases do occur as the disease (and carriers) cross boundaries. The ease of air travel also creates risks as well, reminding us that the disease is only a couple of hours away.
Thus the campaign goes on – despite the investment of more than $6 billion over twenty years ($850 million from Rotarians) we must completely finish the task – otherwise the work of twenty years will have been wasted. A brief glimpse of the statistics for a recent single National Immunisation Day in India will reveal the immense task. It involved.
|The current campaign is flourishing under the banner of "Thanks For Life". You can read about part of our own activities elsewhere on this website. We are very fortunate that the Bill Gates Fundation has promised to match any funds raised by Rotary International up to $2 million. We are so close to our goal that hopes are high that eventually Polio will truely be a disease of the past.|
The 23 years of the Rotary PolioPlus Campaign
has seen a 99% reduction in Polio cases.
ROTARY MAKES A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
To see a BBC News report on the work of Rotary, and its attemps to stamp out Polio, click here.