Posted by Martin Harrison
World Polio Day is celebrated on the 24th of October every year. World Polio Day is a significant annually celebrated event to develop increased awareness about Polio and also take structural measures towards eradication of this disease. Polio in exact words is called Poliomyelitis and usually targets children below the age group of 5.

This disease is caused by a highly infectious virus known by as ‘Poliovirus’. The Poliovirus causes permanent damage to the victim’s nervous system and makes him paralytic for an entire lifetime. Till date, there has not been any solution to the dreaded polio disease. Governments have taken several measures to achieve polio eradication by providing compulsory vaccination in the form of polio drops to all children below five years.

Polio is mostly transmitted through water contamination and polluted water sources.

In Rotary District 3330 all 101 clubs in the 30 areas celebrated World Polio Day by planting trees. In Area 16 Rotary Club Hua Hin organised an event at the Rajamangala University of Technology in Kao Tao where 100 mango trees were planted.  Hua Hin were joined by the RC Royal Hua Hin, RC Pranburi and RC Prachuap Khiri Khan. Also supporting the event were Rotoractors from Stamford, Webster and Rajamangala Universities.

District Governor Chalermchat Chun-in and his wife Nitaya also attended the event.

The District sold 4,000 t-shirts of which 55 Thai Baht went towards world Polio day.

World Polio Day History

The history of World Polio Day is fascinating to read. Jonas Salk made a breathtaking contribution to the whole world through his discovery of the Polio vaccine. The development was indeed a very significant milestone in medical history. Along with this vaccine, the oral form of ingesting this vaccine for children below five years soon followed suit.

This discovery was carried forward by Albert Sabin. Thus, the world came to terms to fight against the deadly Polio disease. Rotary International identified the immense efforts put in by Jonas Salk in bringing up the vaccine. Hence, every year his birth anniversary is also celebrated as International Polio Day.

History has witnessed the complete eradication of smallpox in children and next in line is the poliomyelitis vaccine that is also on similar grounds. Smallpox and Polio are the two deadly diseases that have been wiped out from their existence through proper remedial cures.

In the latest statistics released, Polio numbers still exist in some countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan. But the numbers of cases that have been reported by authorities are a

mere 20. This is precisely the progress and advancement of medical technology achieved over the years through sustained, dedicated and committed efforts by experts. The World Health Organisation has set up specific goals for itself to completely wipe out the disease until the last trace of its existence is closed evidentially.

Significance of World Polio Day 2020

Through the sustained efforts of the World Health Organisation, Polio has reached a distinct level of eradication across the globe. Polio is one of the dangerous diseases in this world with implications of a lifetime. It is a waterborne disease, and children affected with this disease face the consequences of losing out mobility and walking abilities for their entire life.

Polio vaccination is administered orally to children below the age of 5 years by governments of respective countries where the disease has shown endemic signs in the past. In the year 1988, The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched by collaborations between Rotary International and the World Health Organisation. Around that year, worldwide cases counted up to 3, 500,000 and more. Developed countries in the regions of America, Europe and the Western Pacific are free from this endemic today.

Polio has left these regions without a trace. But there are certain other regions in the world where the deadly disease still exists and needs to be eradicated. Strict measures and vaccinations are to be administered from time to time to completely kill the virus from its roots and declare the entire world to be polio-free. It is on the perfect occasion of World Polio Day that such stringent measures can be adopted and stringently practiced to heal our next generations from Polio.