Rotary clubs inform Town Council of successful war staged against polio

October 1, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Representatives from Orangeville’s two Rotary clubs were on hand at town council on Monday to proclaim that Rotary International has almost succeeded in its goal of eradicating polio across the world.

David Proctor of Orangeville Rotary Club and Lynda Moore of Orangeville Highlands Rotary Club spoke proudly of the role their respective clubs have played in tackling what was once one of the deadliest debilitative diseases on the planet.

“If you take a minute to close your eyes and think about all the technological advances we’ve seen introduced that have changed the world – do any of you think about the vaccine developed to eradicate polio?” Mr. Proctor asked. “In the 1960s, the world saw an outbreak in polio. It is a debilitating disease that causes paralysis and, in some cases, death.”

At its peak, polio lead to the death or paralysis of more than half a million people a year.

The disease was largely transmitted by contaminated water and was rampant across the globe. Then, in 1973, renowned scientist Jonas Salk rolled out the very first polio vaccine to more than two million North American children. In 1985, Rotary International launched the program PolioPlus, which would serve to immunize children across the planet. Over the past nine years, Mr. Proctor states that Orangeville’s two Rotary clubs have donated money to provide vaccines to approximately 16,000 children.

“Since Rotary took on that project, it has spent more than $1.5 billion fighting polio across the world. Today, we are seeing the benefits of that investment as the world stands on the threshold of eradicating the disease,” Mr. Proctor said. “Since 1988, polio cases have dropped by 99.9 percent.”

In the entirety of 2017, there were only 22 reported cases of polio in the world. So far in 2018, there have been 17 identified cases, all in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Let our fight against polio show that vaccines work and should be encouraged,” Mr. Proctor concluded.

Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock declared Oct. 24 as World Polio Day in Orangeville, encouraging all citizens to recognize the many volunteers who continue to work to bring an end to polio once and for all.


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