A Saughall Rotarian is travelling to India to help immunise thousands of children against polio this month.
Denise Harding, from Saughall Rotary Club, will be joining a group of 106 volunteers from all over the world.
Although the country was declared free from the disease in 2014, there is still the real risk of re-infection from the cases found in nearby Pakistan and therefore it is essential that high levels of immunisation are maintained.
Denise, who is travelling to India with the project for her first time, said: “It is incredible to think that since making the pledge to eradicate polio in 1985, Rotarians have pulled together to combat the disease all over the world. Travelling to India and working with fellow Rotarians is an exciting opportunity for me. I believe it illustrates how important it is to be involved in community projects that are not just on your doorstep.”
The aim of this year’s National Immunisation Day is to vaccinate over 172 million children under the age of five. In order to do so, the Rotary office in Delhi has allocated five locations where the International Rotarian volunteers will be placed: Delhi, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Bhidawi and Karnal.
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.
Denise said: “It’s important that we don’t lose momentum if we are going to beat this disease and the large group of Rotarians travelling out this year illustrates that we are still as passionate as ever. If you want to make a difference, you could join your local Rotary club or donate.”
To donate to End Polio Now or to join Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, visit www.rotarygbi.org or contact your local Rotary club.