03:07AM, Thursday 15 March 2012
The proud story of how a horrible disease is being eliminated kept an illustrious audience riveted at a charity dinner.
The world leader of Rotary International, president Kalyan Banerjee revealed the inspiring facts at St George’s House, Windsor Castle on Friday.
Home Secretary Theresa May who is Maidenhead's MP, Dean of Windsor Rt Rev David Conner and Governor of Windsor Castle Air Marshal Ian Macfadyen heard Mr Banerjee say that polio had been nearly eradicated in India, where there has not been a single new case for more than a year.
The 1.2m Rotarians who make up more than 34,000 clubs in nearly every country in the world have been committed to the fight against the disease since 1979.
Rotary has raised £630m and 2.5 billion children have been immunised. The number of cases per day throughout the world has dropped since 1985 from more than 1,000 to just two.
Mr Banerjee told how he had met with President Zardari of Pakistan and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to enlist their help.
BBC Medical Correspondent Fergus Walsh was also a keynote speaker at the dinner. He said that to eradicate polio through the world, much still needed to be done in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria as well as continuing the immunisation programme in India. He said the entire world would need to be polio free for three years before the disease was beaten.
Among the guests at the Windsor Castle dinner were senior representatives of Rotary from throughout the world, as well as others personally committed support to the End Polio Now campaign.
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.