Rotarians help in the fight to eradicate polio

Sleaford Rotarians have been raising awareness of polio affecting people worldwide –and have travelled to India to give children a vaccine against the disease.
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As part of World Polio Day on October 24, Norry Bell, secretary of the Rotary Club of Sleaford, spoke to members about work being done to eradicate the crippling and sometimes fatal disease.

Rotary, together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, made a pledge back in 1988 to try and rid the world of polio when there were 350,000 reported cases in 125 countries.

A spokesman for the Sleaford club said: “Polio is not unknown in the Sleaford area since the district was hit with an epidemic in the early 1950s – resulting in the closure of schools, swimming pools and clubs in an effort to stem the extent of the disease. There is no cure for this crippling and potentially-fatal infectious disease, but there are now safe and effective vaccines available to prevent its spread.”

Three members from the Rotary Club of Sleaford, at their own expense, flew out to India to assist with others in its vaccination programme of reaching out to two million children aged five and under over a two day period.

The spokesman added: “Today, through such programmes there are only two endemic countries still remainin, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with very low numbers.

“Today it has been confirmed that the Polio 3 strain has in fact been completely wiped out. Success at its best.”