Melton Rotarians to help combat polio in Inida

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A pair of local Rotarians are travelling to India this month to support the vaccination of thousands of children against polio.

David Ward and Eric Hall from Melton, will be joining a group of 106 volunteers from across Great Britain and Ireland, who will meet up with other Rotary International members from Belgium, Luxembourg, USA and Japan to help on National Immunisation Day.

The aim of this year’s National Immunisation Day is to vaccinate over 172 million children under the age of five.

India was declared free from the disease in 2014, but there is still risk of reinfection from cases recently found in Pakistan.

David, who is travelling to India for the first time and Eric, his second, said: “It is incredible to think that since making the pledge in 1985 to eradicate polio, Rotarians have pulled together to combat the disease. “Travelling to India and working with fellow Rotarians illustrates how important it is to be involved in community projects that are not just on your doorstep.”

David and Eric will be involved in the immunisation programme in Ludhiana, a polluted industrial city some 300 kilometres North West of New Delhi in West Punjab.

The immunisation, which is administered by two simple drops on the tongue, can be carried out easily by someone with no medical experience, and is crucial to keeping polio at bay. Rotary then hopes to continue to send out volunteers in the coming years, until this type of immunisation is replaced with an injection, a procedure that would require medically trained personnel.