End Polio Now

PolioOur speaker this morning was Peter Morley of Cheam and Sutton Rotary club is the District ‘End Polio Now’ coordinator, and is a fount of knowledge about Rotary’s quest to rid the world of Polio. In an entertaining talk he explained how far we have come in the 30-odd years since Rotary International decided to set about the massive task of wiping this disease from the world. In 1985, Polio was still endemic in most of the world, including much of Europe. There were 30,000 new cases of the disease every month. Contrast that with today, when we are averaging just 2 new cases per month.
Peter stressed that we must not become complacent at being this close to defeating Polio. Mass vaccinations must still continue for some years after the last case has been discovered, and the cost of this is estimated at £1.5 billion. We must continue our donations to End Polio Now, which will continue to be matched 200% by the Bill Gates Foundation. We should be very proud of Rotary’s achievements in this crusade, whilst at the same time continuing to feed our Polio Pig.

At the end of the meeting Peter was introduced to Gill, one of our members who had just returned from India where she took part in a mass inoculation programme of young children against Polio. Although polio has been eradicated in India, children still need the protection as long as there are polio cases in Pakistan and Afghanistan. With a birthrate of over 1 million per month in India, it is a mammoth task to ensure all children under 5 are inoculated.