Adele Hughes from Discovery Coast Rotary Club administering the sabin oral polio vaccine to a child in Nuh, India in 2016
Adele Hughes from Discovery Coast Rotary Club administering the sabin oral polio vaccine to a child in Nuh, India in 2016 Contributed

Local Rotarians help in the winning fight against polio

GLADSTONE Region Rotarians are continuing their winning fight against polio by raising money for the worldwide End Polio Now campaign.

World Polio Day was recognised yesterday but it's the ongoing work of Rotary which has helped almost eradicate the infectious disease.

Discovery Coast Rotary Club member Adele Hughes, who has been involved with Rotary for 21 years, has been directly involved in the fight against polio.

Ms Hughes was one of a handful of Australian Rotarians who went to India in 2016 to administer vaccines to children.

"We went with a group from a Rotary club in America and spent one day in a little place called Nuh and who had a World Immunisation Day clinic," she said.

"They had kids waiting for us to have the sabin popped into their mouths."

Polio can be traced back to ancient Egyptians but became infamous during the first half of the 20th century with many outbreaks across the western world.

While polio is slowly being wiped from the planet, Ms Hughes said keeping on top vaccinations was the main challenge.

"The world will never be eradicated from it. They're saying if the vaccinations stopped now it would only take 10 years for it to come back into the world," she said.

"These people who are crippled with polio in third world countries have got no hope of earning a living or even being accepted by people in their towns and are often treated as outcasts or have evil spirits."

The End Polio Now campaign was started by former Rotary International president Clem Renouf.

"He was the one who said 'let's eradicate the world of polio' - that was a long time ago but we've nearly done that.

"There's only three countries left that we're still working in to eradicate polio - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria."

"Pakistan have registered a year without an outbreak but it's got to be three years with an outbreak.

"India achieved that about five years ago."

The worldwide End Polio Now campaign has the backing of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who have donated $2 for every dollar raised.



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