Speaker meeting 19th October 2015

President Tony with Greg showing we are this close

On Monday 16th October the members of Church Wilne Rotary Club were given the latest progress report on the eradication of Polio by club Rotarian Greg Maskalick who is also part of the District Foundation Committee.

Greg who has many happy memories of growing up in Pittsburgh, USA, spoke a little about the history of his home town and the sporting venues for the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates.

Jonas Salk, who also lived in Pittsburgh, played a key role in helping to eradicate polio by inventing in 1955 the first effective vaccine against this paralysing disease. At that time polio was considered to be one of the most frightening public health problems in the world.

The polio vaccine delivered to a child

Thirty years ago in 1985 there were still 350,000 cases of polio annually in 125 countries. Then Rotary teamed up with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and many Governments and it is now a vastly different story to the one we see today. The figure is down by more than 99.9% with fewer than 400 cases in the entire world in 2014.

Last month, after confirming a full year without a single case of wild poliovirus, Nigeria was removed from the list of the world's polio-endemic countries. The fight is far from over since the disease is still in Pakistan and Afghanistan which harbours the world's final reservoir of the endemic polio virus.

Greg will be part of an international team next year going out to India on 3rd February when 175 million children will be given the vaccine. Each vaccine costs just 20p which equates to £35 million.

The team administers the polio vaccine to a child

A team on the streets administering vaccines to children

Rotarians throughout the world have donated since 1985 hundreds of millions of dollars and Bill Gates also made a 350 million dollar donation last year. Overall 1.5 billion dollars has been raised to fight this paralysing disease. Greg summed up by saying "You are not judged by what you say you will do – but what you do".

October 24th marks World Polio Day and Greg has arranged an event on Saturday 24th in Draycott when £1 from every pint of Draycott Bitter purchased will be donated to the Club's Polio account.

The Well Known Superstar Psy of Gangnam Style fame shows what is needed.

The club's vote of thanks was given by Peter Woods who gave a brief review of the club's first Polio fundraiser in 1987 when many of the members did the Beaujolais Nouveau run. He wished in thanking Greg every success on his working trip to India next February.

For more information on Rotary, our speaker evenings and the main activities organised by our club please contact Rotarian John Astell at: rccw1220@gmail.com

Ray Terry
For the Rotary Club of Church Wilne

5th October 2015


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