Polio eradication has been Rotary’s (1) top priority since 1985. Thanks to Rotary’s help, two billion children have been protected from the disease, and the number of endemic countries has fallen from 125 to just four: Afghanistan, Northern India, Nigeria and Pakistan. It is estimated that five million children have been spared from disability and 250,000 deaths have been averted.

All three countries still blighted by Polio (2) are also suffering from conflict making immunisation programmes difficult and hazardous, yet volunteers continue to seek children at risk to administer the anti-polio vaccine. It is hoped that within three years we will finally see the eradication of polio.

The Rotary Club of Chipping Sodbury is heavily involved with ‘End Polio Now’ the International campaign to bring an end to the disease. ‘We have been working with local schools to educate and to raise funds and just last week I visited Culverhill School to update them on progress’ commented Rotary President Dr Iain Dunnett. The school have supported the campaign for the last two years and will again raise funds this year. At the schools daily assembly Dr Dunnett, using a model of an iron lung explained briefly how the device aided patients to breathe.

Purple crocuses planted last year simulating the Purple Pinkies given to children who are vaccinated (purple marker on the little finger) are now making a marvellous display in Lilliput Park, Raysfield Primary School, Smarts Green, Woodchester Park, Culverhill School and Brimsham Green.

All proceeds from a fund raising concert featuring the renowned Temperance Severn takes place at The Hexagon Theatre, Kings Oak Academy Kingswood on Saturday 23 March at 7.45pm. (3)

(1) Rotary is the largest private sector contributor to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Other partners include the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, which battles against a number of difficulties including geographic isolation, armed conflict, cultural barriers, worker fatigue and poverty.

(2) Polio is a crippling, and sometimes fatal, disease and still a terrifying reality for children in parts of Africa and Asia. However, it still threatens children everywhere. Being highly virulent it is only ever an air-flight away from the UK. Just 20 pence will purchase a dose of the special anti-polio vaccine that will protect a child against polio.

(3) Tickets at £17.50 available from Mr Barry Riley. Tel: 01454 314192 or email: [email protected]

Source:The Rotary Club of Chipping Sodbury.