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08.12.16

The Fight to Eradicate Polio

The source of this photo is by Own work. The author is Tyk. From Wikimedia Commons.

At a London Press Club event organised by the Rotary club to help eradicate polio at the Corinthia Hotel on the 24th October 2016, the television presenter, Konnie Huq took a question and answer session from an audience of members and guests. The event follows her recent trip to India, which has been polio free since 2014 after a successful nationwide immunisation programme. She showed how easily the disease could return and said that everyone involved must keep up the momentum to completely eradicate polio so that all the hard work which has been completed so far does not go to waste.

Ghutan Lewis, a polio survivor, said at the event that when he caught the dreadful disease there were 1 in 5 children dying of it. In some cases, babies or children with the disease have become handicapped, making the parents abandon them because they were too much of a burden to their family. This is a terrible statistic. Fortunately for Ghutan, Mother Teresa helped him out. Many children in third world countries are vulnerable to the disease because of where they live and how poor their parents are.

Polio was at epidemic levels and peaked through the 1940s and 1950s, normally striking children under the age of 5. Many countries were affected by the disease including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  Today, the Rotary Club has helped to nearly eradicate the disease, and, as Konnie Huq said, everyone involved needs to keep up the momentum. The Rotary Club and others have put so much hard work into getting this far in the battle to beat polio, and Eve Conway, the United Kingdom and Ireland president, is determined to see this battle through to the end. Now, in the early part of the 21st century, we should be thankful that Rotary International and other organisations took up the challenge in 1985 to beat the disease otherwise it could be a lot worse today.

At present, polio only remains in three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is helping out a great deal to rid these countries of the disease by supporting the Rotary Club. It has been agreed that for every dollar the Rotary Club commits to the polio eradication program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will commit two, which is obviously fantastic news for all involved.

Global Seven News

Lee Cross

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