GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – October 24 marked World Polio Day. The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, would like to commend Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle for organizing activities to create awareness about polio which shows that the global commitment to eliminate polio is also adhered to on Sint Maarten by the non-governmental organization community.
Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle joined other Rotary Clubs worldwide in observing the aforementioned day. A fundraiser was held which was very successful.
Rotary International has been working with international partners to eliminate polio, and has reduced polio cases by 99.9 per cent worldwide since its first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. Rotarians have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries.
Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis in a matter of hours. It especially affects children under age five. There is no cure, but it is preventable. When administered several times, the polio vaccine can provide lifetime protection. More than 15 million people around the world who are walking today would be paralyzed if not for vaccination.
The Region of the Americas is celebrating 25 years with no cases of wild poliovirus. The last case was detected on August 23, 1991, in Peru. The countries of the region, supported by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), were able to eliminate polio and maintain the Americas free of the disease by achieving high rates of vaccination coverage of children and through sustained epidemiological surveillance to ensure early detection of any outbreaks.
In 1975, nearly 6,000 cases of polio were reported in the Region, and in 1991 the last six cases were detected. Three years later, in 1994, the disease was formally declared eliminated from the region. Since then, no child has been paralyzed by polio in the Americas.
For more information, you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003.