Start a conversation with almost anyone about polio and they will probably look puzzled and say: “I thought polio didn’t exist anymore.”
Polio is still here.
There is one very important fact about polio
THERE IS NO CURE. BUT IT CAN BE PREVENTED BY VACCINATION/IMMUNISATION
Polio can strike at any age but mainly affects children under the age of 5. It traps the World’s poorest people into grinding poverty. Young people who are paralysed by polio are a burden on their families and are unable to earn their own living.
In 1985 there were 125 polio-endemic countries with over 325,000 cases.
Rotary’s End Polio Now programme is the most ambitious in its history. Since 1985, more than 10 billion doses of Oral Polio Vaccine have been administered to nearly 3 billion children worldwide. As a result, more than 13 million cases of Polio have been prevented and the disease has been reduced by more than 99%. From January 1st to July 2nd, 2018 there have been just 25 cases.
Rotary continues to work to ensure that children are immunised, and that surveillance is strong despite there being poor infrastructure, extreme poverty and civil strife in many countries around the world. It is, however, often difficult to keep track of children in these countries to ensure they have their full quota of the vaccine. To do this, a purple dye is applied to the “pinkie” finger of each immunised child.
The purple crocus is now Rotary’s emblem for the global End Polio Now campaign.
Thanks to Rotary and the support of our partners WHO, UNICEF, CDC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, there are now just three remaining countries which are classed as polio-endemic: Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan.
Since 1985, Rotary International has donated more than US $ 1.7 billion to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which includes more than US $ 38.7 million by Rotarians in Great Britain & Ireland. Dingwall Rotarians donate £500 each year.
This represents the largest contribution by an international service organisation to a public health initiative ever!!
For every $1 that is donated, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gives another $2.
You may well ask “why do we bother to continue the immunisation programme when there are so few people now affected”
Well, if we don’t successfully eradicate Polio quickly, there could be as many as 200,000 new cases per year worldwide within the next 10 years. We must capitalize on the more than $14billion already invested. The world is closer than it ever has been to eradicating Polio, but even a few cases of Polio means that children everywhere are still at risk.
We can make history and help to break the relentless cycle of poverty for millions more children, so they can live healthier lives, go to school and later, get jobs.
If every country in the World is free from cases of polio for 3 years, the disease will be deemed to have been eradicated. Polio will become only the second disease, after smallpox, to have been eradicated.
Polio has no place in the 21st Century and we are so close to eradicating it.
To celebrate and support the project, we planted purple crocuses around Dingwall and at Strahpeffer Station. We had many volunteers who came along to help and we appreciate the assistance of Dingwall Primary School, Bank of Scotland in Dingwall, The Dingwall Nursery, Dingwall Nursery, The local Alzheimers Support Group and the Strathpeffer Museum of Childhood.
Many thanks to Tom Norton at Tesco for the quiz night which helped to raise money and also to the Tesco customers who donated at the 'Name the Teddy' event on the forecourt.