Rotarians mark India’s first polio-free year

The Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach celebrate a milestone in disease fight

Rotary Club members worldwide are cautiously celebrating a major milestone in the global effort to eradicate polio.

India, until recently an epicentre of the wild poliovirus, has now gone one year without recording a new case of the crippling, sometimes fatal, disease.

A chief factor in India’s success has been the widespread use of the bivalent oral polio vaccine, which is effective against both remaining types of the poliovirus.

Another has been rigorous monitoring, which has helped reduce the number of children missed by health workers during National Immunization Days to less than one per cent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Rotary has been a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 1988, along with WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also a key supporter of the initiative.

This success in India lays the groundwork for the removal of indigenous wild poliovirus from the remaining polio-endemic countries list, which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

The four Rotary Clubs in Qualicum Beach and Parksville have all been active in fund-raising for the End Polio Now campaign.

 

Submitted by Georgia Maclean, Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach