Graeme's message, 23 October 2013

Dear Rotarians and Friends

Rotary celebrates “World Polio Day“ this Friday 24th October and has every reason to be proud of the involvement in the near eradication of polio from the globe.

Rotarians may feel that the Polio issue is overemphasized and that another big project is required. The impact of the eradication program can never be underestimated and complacency at this stage would be disastrous and until polio is eradicated Rotarians should continue to support the “End Polio Now” program.

Our club is committed to a donation of $1000 for the current year. 

The following is an edited extract from the RI website:

Rotary made polio eradication its top priority in 1985 and since then has contributed US$1.2 billion, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries. 
Overall, remarkable progress has been achieved in the fight against polio. Since 1988, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 a year to fewer than 700 cases in 2011. The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, the Western Pacific region in 2000, and Europe in 2002. 
A highly infectious disease, polio still strikes children mainly under the age of five.... Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. There is no cure for polio, but for as little as 60 cents worth of oral vaccine, a child can be protected from the disease for life. 

Early this year India was declared polio free having not identified a case for 3 years. However despite this success there are still areas of concern in Pakistan, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Pakistan has reported 206 cases of paralysis caused by poliovirus in 2014. This is the highest number of cases on record by October in Pakistan in any year. So there is still a way to go hence the need to overcome complacency.

Bill and Melinda Gates are also involved in the endgame phase of polio eradication with their Foundation partnering with Rotary. From 2013 to 2018, every US dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will instantly become three dol-

lars, thanks to a 2-to1 match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Such a multiplying effect makes our investment really important.

For those that survive polio there are potential long term effects. Our speaker this week will be Chris Haw, senior Orthopaedic Surgeon from Western Health who will discuss the problems faced later in life and in particular those of an orthopaedic nature.