Polio battle: Three hurdles left

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THE battle against Polio is almost won. It is now taking as an example the Olympic Games, entering the final home straight.

This has been a marathon task that Rotary clubs worldwide have been engaged in for the last 26 years.

It is fair to say that we are only three hurdles away from defeating this crippling illness. Two years ago, I reported that the Rotary Club of March - as are those across the UK - little by little helping to achieve that goal.

A few pounds here, £150 there and all raised by public generosity. These funds in effect, go out of the community but sums are also ploughed back into local activities. Kids Out being an example. The breakthrough in the last year has been India, where no new cases of Polio have been reported for 12 months, but it needs to be three years clear to say the disease has been eradicated.

The three hurdles remaining are Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ethnic prejudice, social intolerance, political injustice and terrorism, all have to be over come by those in the front line administering the vaccine. Only two drops on the tongue of a child will give immunity for life.

Here in March we are thousands of miles away from these countries that are perhaps, just a name on the TV but with the continued generous public support, we are together, also in the front line.

Every penny counts, there are no expenses.

ROBERT FREEMAN

March Rotary Club