Rotary’s iron lung road trip to eradicate Polio coming to Forbes

lifted from Forbes Advocate | contributed by: PP Ruby Bairan, RC Chinatown Manila

The machine in this picture might not even be recognised by many young people, but just a couple of generations ago thousands of children contracted polio – and lived in one of these just so they could breathe.

Vaccinations mean the polio virus has been eradicated in Australia, and Rotarians hope to see it wiped out right across the world.

They’re bringing this particular Australian-made and still functioning iron lung on a tour through the district, raising awareness that polio remains a real risk in three countries and raising further funds for its eradication.

They will be in Forbes on March 23, so once you’ve cast your vote in the State election you’re encouraged to come and have a look.

When Rotary and the World Health Organisation launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were an estimated 350,000 cases of polio, Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign website explains.

Since then more than 2.5 billion children have been immunised, thanks to countless volunteer hours and more than $1.7 billion funding.

In 30 years the number of polio-endemic countries has been reduced from 125 to three and polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 per cent.

Rotary’s District Governor John Glassford is passionate about completely eradicating polio, and organised the iron lung road trip to raise awareness and funds.

The parade started in Griffith on March 5 and will return there at the end of the month.

The World Health Organisation says Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.

In can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis, it can be fatal.

The WHO says there is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunisation.

Rotarians are seeking community support to continue to provide vaccines and take them into the parts of the world where polio is still endemic.

The iron lung will be in Harold Street, Forbes, on March 23, you can have a look and find out more about Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign.

You can also donate towards the eradication of polio world-wide, facilities will be set up to tap your card to donate $5 to Rotary’s work, the End Polio Now campaign.

Funds raised by Rotary are matched with two additional dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

To find out more, go online to www.endpolio.org

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