Ossett Rotary Club has played a part in a significant global health achievement as the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa region has been officially declared wild polio-free.
Polio is a debilitating and crippling disease, mainly affecting children, which can cause paralysis and even death.
This incredible milestone is the result of decades of effort from Rotary Clubs and volunteers around the world who have fundraised, campaigned and work tirelessly since Rotary pledged to rid the world of polio more than 30 years ago.
Ossett Rotary have played their part by fund raising events, selling lapel crocus badges, the symbol of the campaign, and planting crocuses around Ossett. For many years, club volunteers made annual collections at the Co-ops in Ossett and Horbury. Ossett Rotary would like to thank the Co-operative Society for their wonderful support over those years and the people of Ossett and Horbury for their generous donations.
The certification comes four years after Nigeria, the last polio-endemic country in Africa, recorded its final case of wild polio and now means of the WHOs six regions, five of those – accounting for 90% of the world’s population are free from polio. The number of recorded cases has been reduced by 99.9%.
Graham Scott the club spokesperson said, “This is a tremendous landmark in the world’s battle to eradicate polio. It has been many years since there was a recorded case of polio in the UK and Ireland, but we remain committed to making the final, challenging steps toward ridding the world of this horrible disease. If we don’t finish the job then it will come back. That is why it is so important to continue the vaccination programme.”
The fight goes on. The virus is still in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, so the vaccination programme continues in those countries, to protect every last child, strengthen immunisation, keeps immunity levels high and prevent the return of the virus to African and other parts of the world including the UK.
Worldwide Rotary has directly contributed over US$2 billion to ending polio since 1985. Ossett Rotary has donated approximately £11,000 in the past 10 years alone.
To get involved in Rotary and make a difference in your community and around the world, visit www.rotarygbi.org/join