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Rotary Tortola calls on VI to join fight against Polio

Rotary, as an international organisation, is involved in a number of global initiatives. The Polio initiative is one such programme that has seen tremendous success with the help of Rotary Clubs, organizations and persons from around the world. Photo: clubrunner.com
Director of Public Relations, Rotary Club of Tortola, Julien N. Johnson. Photo: VINO
Director of Public Relations, Rotary Club of Tortola, Julien N. Johnson. Photo: VINO
Since 1985, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries. The disease remains endemic in three countries -- Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan -- although other countries remain at risk for imported cases. Photo: VINO/File
Since 1985, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries. The disease remains endemic in three countries -- Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan -- although other countries remain at risk for imported cases. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Of the many health conditions that grip residents of the Virgin Islands polio is not one of them; something the Rotary Family is happy about but feels strongly about the VI playing a great role in having the condition eradicated from other countries.

Communicating this mission with Virgin Islands News Online Director of Public Relations, Rotary Club of Tortola Julien N. Johnson said that the project is one that seeks to aid stricken countries around the world.

“Rotary, as an international organisation, is involved in a number of global initiatives. The Polio initiative is one such programme that has seen tremendous success with the help of Rotary Clubs, organizations and persons from around the world,” noted Mr Johnson.

He described the condition as one that is “a highly infectious” that causes paralysis, sometimes fatal. “As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as US 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life,” said Mr Johnson.

After an international investment of more than US$9 billion, and the successful engagement of over 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated the Rotarian explained.

“The eradication of polio is in everyone’s interest regardless of where on the planet you call home,” said Mr Johnson.

Johnson said that the message to world leaders is clear, “support the final push to achieve eradication now while the goal has never been closer, or face the potential consequences of a new polio pandemic that could disable millions of children within a decade.”

Since 1985, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries. The disease remains endemic in three countries -- Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan -- although other countries remain at risk for imported cases.

The last cases identified in the Caribbean area were in Haiti/Dominican Republic in 1991. Before a Caribbean vaccination drive, estimated deaths in Latin America/Caribbean in the 1970s totalled 15,000 cases and 1,750 deaths per annum. The BVI has been Polio free for many decades.  However the local Rotary Clubs are working to raise funds from their members and from the community for Rotary’s ‘End Polio Now’ campaign and at the conclusion of the current Rotary Year on June 30, 2014 the Rotary Clubs of the VI would have raised in excess of $17,000 to go towards this campaign.

“Join with concerned Rotarians and help to eradicate polio in our lifetime. With global travel nowadays, it can be easily transmitted across national borders, or across the globe, as has already happened with wild outbreaks in several world areas,” appealed Mr Johnson on behalf of the Rotary family of the VI.

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