Bob joins Rotary fight against polio

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WELLINGBOROUGH Rotarian Bob Parfitt travelled to India to vaccinate children against polio.

Mr Parfitt, who is a member of Wellingborough Hatton Rotary Club, travelled to India in February to join the Rotary National Immunization programme.

Trying to rid the world of polio is one of Rotary’s flagship initiatives and is a project Rotary International has been working on for more than 25 years.

During his trip Mr Parfitt, of Sywell, travelled around Moradabad as part of a group of 16 – made up of Mr Parfitt, 12 American Rotarians and three of their guests – immunizing children aged five and under.

He said the trip had been a real experience and he had learned a lot.

Mr Parfitt said: “It was fantastic, I’m glad I went. It opened my eyes.

“Although we have been raising money since I joined Rotary in 1988 it opened my eyes to the importance of eradicating polio around the world.”

The immunization given to children for polio is two drops.

Mr Parfitt said the group had administered the immunization in all kinds of situations, including giving the drops to children who were standing at the windows on trains and buses at the railway and bus stations.

He said: “We went round the houses and they had marked on the walls in chalk if they had been done.

“We went to a couple of villages and one of the villages hadn’t been done so we went from house to house and did that.”

When the children have been immunized they are marked with indelible marker on the little finger of their left hand to show they have been treated.

Just before Mr Parfitt’s trip, India celebrated having gone 13 months without a case of polio.

Mr Parfitt said: “While we were in India we went to the polio summit in Delhi and the World Health Organisation took India off the endemic list, which is fantastic.”

The group was busy working hard giving the immunization to youngsters for 11 days of the trip.

They took just one day as a break, which Mr Parfitt spent visiting the Taj Mahal.