LAST WEEK, BBC News reported: “Africa has been declared free from wild polio virus by the independent body, the Africa Regional Certification Commission.
“Polio usually affects children under five, sometimes leading to irreversible paralysis. Death can occur when breathing muscles are affected. Twenty-five years ago thousands of children in Africa were paralysed by the virus.”
Why is this such great news today for all of us living in Berkshire? For two vital reasons:
Firstly, the article continues, “The disease is now only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan” adding, “there is no cure but the polio vaccine protects children for life.”
Just 40 years ago, 350,000 children in 125 countries across all seven continents were diagnosed with polio every year.
Polio vaccination for every child in the UK has been a central part of our NHS since the 1950s, and there has not been a single case of polio in the UK since the mid-1980s.
So the second reason to proclaim this as great news is its relevance in the current global fight against Covid-19.
There is a huge concerted effort to find effective affordable vaccines against the Coronavirus. The global network that has been so effective to End Polio Now is in place once supplies of approved Covid-19 vaccines become available.
Do take a minute to read the article published this spring by the United Nations Foundation:
And Rotarians worldwide, including the Easthampstead club, have been on the front line in the End Polio Now campaign, alongside the WHO, Unicef, the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
All these partners are now also co-operating in the global fight against Covid-19.
With your help we can achieve even more.
New members always welcome. Post-Covid, we meet most Monday evenings at The Coppid Beech.
For more information, call Brian on 07720 321 526.
Peter von Bergen, Easthampstead Rotary
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