Government reception celebrates Rotary’s polio volunteers

ROTARIAN John Owen and his wife Ann were invited to the House of Commons to celebrate the involvement of Rotary in the eradication of polio from India. The Westminster reception, which was attended by more than 200 Rotary volunteers who had been on the polio immunisation programme in India, was hosted by William Wragg MP, who is a member of Hazel Grove Rotary Club of near Manchester.
International Development Secretary, the Right Honourable Penny Mordaunt MP who gave keynote address saluted the work of Rotary’s immunisation programme in India over the past decade.
Hundreds of British Rotarians have participated annually in the polio immunisation teams, who have gone door-to-door in cities and remote villages in all parts of India with the life-saving vaccine. All the volunteers funded their own airfares and rolled up their sleeves to help at the many vaccination booths set up by Indian Rotarians and health agencies which enabled sixteen million Indian children to be directly vaccinated resulting in India to being declared polio-free in 2014.
Government Minister Penny Mordaunt praised Rotarians for their “selfless and dedicated” work, marking a decade of the ground-breaking initiative. Reflecting on how close the world was to becoming polio-free, with just 37 cases recorded in three countries in 2017, she said: “Rotary’s role in eradicating polio will deliver one of the greatest public health victories of all time.”
She said: “It’s really hard to overstate the importance of the achievement of India becoming polio-free. It was an historic milestone in the road to global eradication. India’s success was the result of a multi-dimensional eradication strategy, backed up by a huge amount of hard work by people on the ground. This has demonstrated to the world that even in the most challenging environments, polio can be defeated through a concerted and co-ordinated campaign. The dream of making India polio-free would not have been realised without massive social mobilisation and the remarkable, selfless work of the volunteers from Rotary.
Your contribution has been extraordinary. You have been diligent, determined and dedicated to achieving and maintaining eradication over the last 10 years. You have been fantastic ambassadors for the UK, working hard to achieve a fantastic result. Your contribution and the contribution of over 1,500 volunteers has helped immunise over 16 million children in India, which has enabled every single last child to be reached and none left behind to face this cruel disease. We are immensely proud of all of you and we are committed to eradicating polio for good.”
John said it was really a magic experience being able to go out on the Terrace by the Thames as well as to walk through the corridors of power. During their time in the House John and his wife Ann made time to listen to the debates in both Houses.

posted: Tuesday, 24 April 2018

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