By By by Anne Matthews, Public Relations Director, Bribie Rotary

World Polio Day. Bribie island. Brisbane. Queensland. Australia

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tags: World Polio Day. Bribie island. Brisbane. Queensland. Australia

In 1988 Polio was a disease that paralysed more than 350,000 children every year. At the beginning of this 2018, just 30 years after Rotary started its “End Polio” campaign, that number had reduced to 22 cases worldwide. This statistic does not include the very recent cases in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In the year 2000, PNG was declared Polio free but as at 18 September 2018 there are now 12 confirmed cases of the disease.

These cases are vaccine-derived cases, not “wild” polio cases. This means it is a mutated version of the weaker poliovirus used in vaccinations. Vaccine-derived polioviruses are rare and usually, happen in populations with very low vaccination rates. They develop when children who have not been vaccinated come into contact with the feces of vaccinated children. In response to this recent outbreak, the PNG government commenced an emergency vaccination campaign in Port Moresby on 24 September, with a nationwide campaign on 1 October.

The Rotary Clubs of PNG who form part Rotary District 9600, which includes Bribie Island, are playing an import part in mobilising the vaccination programs. Most of our older readers will indeed remember a friend or schoolmate who suffered from polio. Those who are fans of “Call the Midwife” will remember the distress for Dr. Turner and Shelagh when Timothy is diagnosed with the disease. The 2017 film “Breathe” is the true story of Robin Cavandish who contracts Polio at age 28 and then devotes his life to helping other polio patients.

Through Rotary, I have met several Polio survivors, who like Robin Cavandish have devoted their lives to making sure this paralysing disease is eradicated. Rotarian Susanne Rea OAM, a Polio survivor and founder of the World’s Greatest Meal giving the oral vaccination to a young boy in India last year There is still NO cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunisation. The first polio vaccine was the inactivated polio vaccine. It was developed by Jonas Salk and came into use in the 1950s. The oral polio vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin and came into commercial use in 1961.

While many who contract polio will survive to live their lives well, some will die from the disease – especially those living in remote areas of countries like PNG. Polio is not just a disease of the poor or third world. It was prevalent in countries such as the USA, England and Australia – where the rich and famous also suffered – but is now confined to a very few countries around the world. Last year my predecessor, Barry Clark, wrote that Polio was on the brink of eradication and told of the one Billion Dollar commitment from Rotary International to finish the fight and end this disease forever.

World Polio Day. Bribie island. Brisbane. Queensland. Australia This year, I was hoping I would be able to report that this goal had been achieved and am very sad to instead have to write about this setback in PNG. However, the PNG cases highlight the importance of continuing the vaccination program. Smallpox is the only human disease ever eradicated. Let’s make polio the second. Join the fight on World Polio Day 24 October 2018. Join the Rotary Club of Bribie Island who has registered their webinar as a World’s Greatest Meal to help End Polio and know that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will add $2 to every dollar that you raise towards Rotary’s End Polio Campaign.

WGM is a program in which people host meals, anything from two people having lunch to elaborate gourmet dinners, or a BBQ or morning or afternoon tea and ask for donations to Rotary’s End Polio Campaign. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had numerous events registered across Bribie Island on 24 October? Details on how to organise a meal can be found at

Please register your event in the name of the Rotary Club of Bribie Island and make sure you also report the event and that your donation is a minimum of US$10. If you don’t have access to the Internet then ring me on 0409 244 005 and I will arrange the registration. Keep in mind that EVERY DOLLAR you raise will mean $3 to the Campaign.

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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.