A volunteer from West Dorset has been helping to immunise children against polio in India.
Clive Bath, a past president of the Bridport Rotary Club, joined a group of 40 Rotarians from the UK, Belgium and Luxembourg in Delhi to take part in the National Immunisation Day organised by the Indian government and the World Health Organisation.
This year the WHO has officially declared India polio free after three years without a new case.
Together with local Indian Rotarians and Government Health Workers Clive and his colleagues visited different parts of Delhi.
Clive was attached to the slums of East Delhi where he helped to immunise 620 children under the age of five in one morning.
He said: “The people are extremely poor with none of the requirements for daily living we take for granted such as running water and electricity, but they were very friendly and greatly appreciated the work done to protect their children against this disease.
“The presence of Europeans in yellow Rotary shirts created a great deal of interest which helped to ensure that parents or older siblings brought their young children out to be immunised.
“All the volunteers paid for their own flights and hotels so any money given to the ‘End Polio Now’ cause goes directly to help fight the disease and keep India Polio free.”
Clive also visited St Stephens Hospital where polio corrective surgery is undertaken.
The work is 50 per cent funded by the Rotary Club of Delhi Midtown. A short video of the work of this hospital can be viewed on the website polioeradi cation.org Anyone interested in the work of the Rotary can visit the website bridportrotary.org.uk The Bridport club meets on a Tuesday evening at Highlands End Leisure Park and is always looking for new members.
Children under the age of five are given two drops of an oral polio vaccine and their little finger on the left hand is marked with an indelible pen so that Health Workers and volunteers can easily see who has been immunised.
There were a total of 400 new cases of polio worldwide last year with new outbreaks in Somalia (190) and Syria (23).
Polio remains endemic in three countries: Pakistan (93), Afghanistan (14) and Nigeria (53).
Rotary International helps to fund the ‘End Polio Now’ campaign together with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, Indian and other Governments and private donors.