ROTARY FIGHTS POLIO
Iron lung to tour western show circuit
IN THE early 20th century, polio was one of the most feared diseases in the world, paralysing hundreds of thousands of children every year.
The Rotary Foundation has reduced polio cases by 99.9% worldwide since their first project to vaccinate children began in 1979.
Thanks in large part to Rotary’s efforts, polio is an almost forgotten disease, particularly for younger generations.
To highlight their efforts and ensure polio remains on the radar until it is entirely eradicated, the south-west Rotary district will be touring the local show circuit with an iron lung.
No device is more associated with polio than this tank respirator.
A highly infectious disease, polio attacks the nervous system and can lead to paralysis, disability and even death.
Doctors used the iron lung on patients who were unable to breathe when the virus paralysed their chest muscles.
When the pressure in the tank lowers, the patient’s chest expands and when the pressure is raised the chest contracts, mimicking the act of breathing.
Assistant governor for Rotary District #9630 Bryan Payne said the iron lung would be travelling to the Roma, St George, Charleville, Chinchilla and Mitchell shows in May, and will conclude in Dalby at the end of the circuit.
“The Rotary Foundation is 100-years-old and this is a great opportunity to publicise the work Rotary has been doing the last 30 years to eradicate polio.”
The tour will coincide with a training module run in junior schools across the district to inform younger generations of this debilitating and once prolific disease.
DEBILITATING DISEASE: A young polio victim in an iron lung.