Rotary clubs continue the fight to eradicate polio

2018-10-24 06:01

DURING its more than 100 years of existence Rotary International has been involved with many effective service-above-self projects that, to this day, turn out magnificent results in counteracting challenging humanitarian and social issues and making the world a better place to live.

One of the huge philanthropic projects that Rotary International and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – the World Health Organisation, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – are involved in is the fight against polio.

Poliomyelitis is a particularly infectious disease that is caused by the polio virus, an illness mostly affecting children under the age of five.

Since the start of their anti-polio life-saving efforts in the 1980s, Rotary has collectively nearly achieved their goal of total eradication of the disease with a 99.9% reduction in polio.

“We are not there yet, and Rotarians and society have to keep on working to accomplish the 100% mark in the eradication of the poliomyelitis virus,” said Antoinette Esterhuyse, a member of the Rotary Club of PE South.

“It is paramount that vaccination rates are kept at a very high level. Even when we reach the zero mark, we need to wait for three years of no new outbreaks to prove its annihilation.

“Through the compassion, generosity and kindness of more than a million Rotarians globally, as well as the public, it is possible to get to zero. We do not know when, but we do believe that through ingenious strategies, the eradication of polio will be concluded sooner rather than later,” said Esterhuyse.

In order to make the public more aware of the importance of taking altruistic issues to a more personal level, Rotary is celebrating World Polio Day today, October 24. In Port Elizabeth, there are quite a number of Rotary Clubs earnestly involved with anti-polio campaigns, and they believe that Nelson Mandela Bay needs to be made more aware of its Rotary events and projects.

Residents are invited to speak to their nearest Rotarian to know more about the projects they serve and how the public can become involved with the END POLIO NOW campaign.

“We salute doctors Joseph Salk and Albert Sabin, whose polio vaccination discoveries have changed the medical world. It is upon their compassionate shoulders that Rotary clubs counteract the dreaded virus,” said Esterhuyse.

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