[CAPTION] Today, World Polio Day, provides a chance to celebrate the progress that has been made in the eradication of the virus. Since 1979, Rotary International has been combating poliomyelitis (polio), an untreatable but vaccine-preventable disease. Back then, the world saw about 1 000 new cases of polio daily; in 2015, less than 75 cases occurred the world over. This radical decline is largely due to generous donations by organisations such as the Rotary Club of Claremont. [Photo credit: Rotary International.]

World Polio Day seeks to raise awareness of the poliomyelitis (polio) disease: it is an infectious disease that occurs mainly in children, targeting the nervous system and causing paralysis. At this stage, there is no cure for this virus. ”Eradicating polio globally has been a core focus for Rotary International,” says Ian Pursch, District Governor for Rotary’s District 9350, which includes Western and Northern Cape; Namibia and Angola. “Rotary is the largest private sector donor to the cause, helping to enable advances in research and medical innovations for ridding the planet of the disease,” adds Pursch.

South African children don’t need to fear polio, as our country has been polio-free for more than two decades. In other parts of Africa and the world where polio still occurs, Rotary International remains hard at work to eradicate the disease through its Polio Plus Project. Rotarians across the globe volunteer time and money toward the cause, to provide children with a vaccine that guarantees them a polio-free life.

Over the last five years, the Rotary Club of Claremont’s financial contribution towards Polio Plus amounts to more than R 250 000. Tomorrow, 25 October 2016, Rotary Claremont will be investing a further R 70 000 in the project by way of a cheque to the District Foundation Committee to help get the life-saving vaccine to those who need it.

“Rotary International took up the fight against polio in 1979 and have helped to decrease the number of global polio cases by 99.9%,” says Ian Robertson, president of the Rotary Club of Claremont. “Our contribution will help in the battle to completely eliminate the virus. It is an extraordinary legacy to be a part of.”

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit http://claremontrotary.co.za/.