Bundy Rotary clubs fighting polio

BUNDABERG Rotary groups have the chance to band together to help eradicate polio overseas.

Rotary International District chair Derek McGrath from West Bundaberg Rotary Club hopes the local groups will raise $1000 each.

He said if the five Bundaberg clubs, the Bargara and Childers club were able to raise the funds it would be a great help.

“In 1985, polio was endemic in 125 countries around the world with an average of 360,000 cases of polio suffered every year,” he said.

“This has been reduced to less than 1000 cases per year in the entire world today with polio present in only four countries, which are India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.”

He said Rotarians had already contributed more than $850 million to the eradication effort.

“Rotary has committed to raising $200 million by June 30, 2012, to match the $355 million in Challenge Grants received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in this struggle against polio,” he said.

“Thanks to Rotary and its partners, the number of polio cases has been slashed by more than 99%, preventing five million instances of childhood paralysis and 250,000 deaths.”

He said the final 1% eradication would be the most difficult to fight.

“The main reasons for this are geographical isolation, worker fatigue, armed conflict and cultural barriers,” he said. “Rotary and the global partners cannot ease up or polio will again attack the children.”

He said it was important the “cruel disease” was eradicated.

“As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children – wherever they live – remain at risk,” he said. “Hopefully, the public will help us raise the funds.”

Mr McGrath said he would contact each Rotary club.

“We need the public to know about this fight Rotary has been doing for the last 25 years.”

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