ROTARY ROUND-UP: Purple pinkies for polio awareness

Until polio is eradicated, all countries remain at risk of outbreaks
Until polio is eradicated, all countries remain at risk of outbreaks

This week, Kim Woodley, from the Rotary Club of Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.

One of the most life changing actions that Rotary Worldwide has achieved is the huge reduction in the number of cases of polio.

Tuesday was World Polio Day and Worthing Rotary club held street collections and gave passers by a ‘purple pinkie’ – purple nail varnish on their little finger.

This acts as a reminder of the fact that polio still needs to be eradicated from the world and to show that all children who are immunized by Rotarians in affected countries are given a ‘purple pinkie’ so everyone knows they have received their immunisation.

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world.

The polio virus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours.

It can strike at any age but mainly affects children under five.

Polio is incurable, but completely vaccine-preventable.

In 1985, Rotary launched its Polio Plus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children.

Rotary has now contributed more than 20 million and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.

Today, there are only three countries that have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus: Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

However challenges still remain: the polio cases represented by the remaining one per cent are the most difficult to prevent, due to factors including geographical isolation, poor public infrastructure, armed conflict and cultural barriers.

Until polio is eradicated, all countries remain at risk of outbreaks.

To ensure success every pound that Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35million a year until 2018.

These funds help to provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents.

To join Rotarians in making a difference to the lives of others, both locally and internationally, have a look at our website – www.worthing-rotary.org – call us or come along to one of our Monday lunchtime meetings.

We would love to welcome you.

Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:

• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 209564.

• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.

• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 07788 638757.