Susan Cole from Rotary raising funds to support the End Polio Now campaign. (Picture/Andy Brownbill)
Susan Cole from Rotary raising funds to support the End Polio Now campaign. (Picture/Andy Brownbill)

Helen Reddy film helping Gladstone eradicate polio

A GLADSTONE group has been fighting hard to raise money to help eradicate the potentially infectious disease Polio from the planet.

A more than 40 year battle to eradicate polio from the human race has resulted in Rotary members contributing more than $2.1 billion to rid the world of polio.

Rotary Club of Gladstone Midday spokeswoman Marguerita Dobrini said the aim of local, and all Rotarians, was to see Polio completely eradicated, just like Smallpox.

Mrs Dobrini said that in May 1980, the World Health Organisation confirmed Smallpox had been eradicated from Earth after a 40 year battle.

“Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a paralysing and potentially deadly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of five,” Mrs Dobrini said.

“The virus spreads from person to person, typically through contaminated water.

“It can then attack the nervous system.”

Through the global efforts of Rotary, Mrs Dobrini said their goal of eradicating polio was closer than ever.

“Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years,” Mrs Dobrini said.

“As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9 per cent since the first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.

Gladstone Rotary Clubs are holding a special screening of the Helen Reddy film I am Woman to raise money to help eradicate polio from the planet.
Gladstone Rotary Clubs are holding a special screening of the Helen Reddy film I am Woman to raise money to help eradicate polio from the planet.

“Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralysing disease.

“Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.”

Mrs Dobrini said through the efforts, polio was now only endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“This year, the World Health Organisation’s African region was certified free of wild poliovirus – showing that eradication is possible even in very difficult circumstances,” she said.

“Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free.”

Eradication efforts must continue, Mrs Dobrini said, otherwise polio could spread to other countries.

“If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyse as many as 200,000 children each year,” she said.

To help raise money for to eradicate polio, The Rotary Foundation is presenting the story of Helen Reddy, whose voice inspired a generation.

“All proceeds from this event will go to Rotary’s ‘End Polio Now’ Campaign,” Mrs Dobrini said.

“The movie will be shown at Gladstone Cinemas on 1st November starting at 1pm.”

To donate to the End Polio Now campaign visit the website.

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