SHOPPERS at Salamander Bay were recently treated to a glimpse of the past when the Rotary Club of Salamander Bay displayed a working iron lung.
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Used in the 1940s and 1950s the iron lung was used on polio patients who were paralysed by the disease and unable to breath unaided.
The chambers were manually pumped full of air by nurses, keeping polio patients alive.
Rotary Club of Salamander Bay, President Darcy Geale told News Of The Area, “We are not just doing this to raise awareness of the need to end polio, but to raise the awareness of the need to vaccinate against diseases such as whooping cough and tuberculosis; penicillin and antibiotic resistant strands of tuberculosis have been found on our doorstep in PNG and neighbouring Islands in the Torres Strait.”
Rotarians believe that if Polio is not eradicated many children will continue to suffer the debilitating and crippling consequences of Polio with the added risk of it spreading and or mutating.
“When we are successful in eradicating polio we will have achieved one of the greatest public health victories, with polio becoming the second human disease to be eliminated from the world,” he said.
Rotary has taken on the international task of eradicating polio worldwide and their efforts are supported financially by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Bill Gates said, “We are achingly close to getting rid of polio – more than 90 percent of the way there.
“Finishing the job is a big challenge, but it is very doable if we keep up the efforts,” he said.
Local Rotarians are raising funds for the eradication of polio and the Gates Foundation is doubling every donation 2 – to – 1 up to $50 million per year.
Funding is needed to immunise 400 million children against polio every year.
You can donate to end polio at endpolio.org.
While polio cases have almost been eradicated, whooping cough is in our community and it threatens babies and those with weak immune systems.
Pregnant women should be vaccinated at 28 weeks to protect their unborn baby and babies should be vaccinated at 6 weeks, 4 months and 6 months of age.
You can find out more about whooping cough at www.health.nsw.gov.au/pertussis.
By Marian SAMPSON