RO­TARY FIGHTS PO­LIO

Iron lung to tour western show cir­cuit

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Mar­guerite Cud­dihy Mar­guerite.Cud­dihy@west­ern­starnews.com

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.

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