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College backs End Polio campaign

College backs End Polio campaign

Blackpool Sixth is supporting Rotary International’s campaign to eradicate polio. Poliomyelitis (polio) is a paralysing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. The poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. It can strike at any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio is incurable, but completely vaccine-preventable.

Retired Blackpool Victoria Hospital histopathologist, Dr Kadaba Vasudev, came into Blackpool Sixth to speak to students from the college’s medical society and science club about Rotary’s work to eliminate the disease.

Dr Vasudev himself contracted the disease as a one-year old in India. The students were very moved by his personal account of what it was like to suffer from the disease and how many young children who contract it do not survive. He also talked about the disease from a medical and scientific perspective before moving onto the extraordinary efforts made by Rotary International members and others to try to consign the disease to history.

In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus programme, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Rotary has contributed more than $1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunise more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. As a result of the programme and further initiatives, polio is very nearly a disease of the past – there were just 37 cases reported worldwide in 2016 in a small number of war-torn countries where vaccination has proved difficult. However, the risk is still there that the disease may reemerge on a larger scale if the eradication campaign is not continued.

To mark World Polio day on Tuesday 24th October Blackpool Sixth was one of many buildings around the world which projected the End Polio message. The college is also growing purple crocuses (the symbol of the campaign) on site and will have a collection box at Reception for students, staff and visitors to contribute to this very worthy cause.

More information about the End Polio campaign can be found here.