You Can Join With Raymond Terrace Rotary To Help Fight Polio

Raymond Terrace’s Sue Bell immunising children in India against Polio.

 

AS the world battles on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some still working hard to eradicate the pandemic which struck in the 1940’s and 1950’s – Polio.

The World Health Organisation tells us, “Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease that largely affects children under 5 years of age.

“The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.

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“In 1988, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution for the worldwide eradication of polio, marking the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by national governments, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, and later joined by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“Wild poliovirus cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases in more than 125 endemic countries then to 175 reported cases in 2019.”

Sue Bell of Raymond Terrace is currently a member of Rotary Club of Raymond Terrace and has been involved in Rotary for 11 years.

She is working hard alongside many others towards the eradication of Polio.

Sue Bell told News Of The Area, “My first Polio Immunisation tour was to India in 2014.

“At that time India was polio free for 3 years.”

Sue returned to India in 2015 and then again in 2018 to continue the immunisation program.

NID (National Immunisation Day) runs over two days and is run by the Indian Government, in conjunction with the World Health Organisation, Health Department, and local Health Workers in each village.

“The village I worked in was about two and a half hours drive west of New Delhi.

“The people there are very poor, but beautiful people, and they were very glad to accept us into their village.”

The team immunise as many children, five years and under, as possible.

As each child is immunised, they have their left pinkie finger painted purple to reduce the risk of double dosing.

“It was an amazing experience; when young mums bring their babies in to be immunised.”

The team conducted immunisation at a central location on day one, then they walked around different areas of the village to connect with those who didn’t come to the central immunisation hub.

Sue and the team will be at the Heritage Festival in Raymond Terrace over the weekend with a restored iron lung used to assist children to breath while they had polio.

“With the use of ‘Polly’ we are raising awareness that polio still exists in only two countries in the world – Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Nigeria is now declared polio free.

Come along and have your ‘Pinkie Painted Purple’ for small donation, and your contribution will purchase enough vaccine to immunise a small child against polio.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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