Southwick Rotarian returns to India to fight polio

Valerie Trevor (second left) in India
Valerie Trevor (second left) in India

Southwick Rotarian Valerie Trevor is continuing the battle to eradicate polio in India by returning to the country to help with the immunisation programme for a second time.

Valerie, secretary of the Rotary Club of Shoreham and Southwick, will be flying out to Delhi on November 1, then making the six-hour coach journey to Badaun, joining other Rotarians from across the UK.

This will be the second time, Valerie, of Church Lane, Southwick, has joined the immunisation drive, which has seen India removed from the polio endemic country list since January.

In November, 2010, she joined other Rotarians on the trip to Delhi, where she was taken to immunisation booths in slum areas of the city.

“We had to do the immunisations by putting drops on the tongue,” Valerie explained.

The following day, she joined two Indian health professionals on door-to-door community outreach, visiting the homes of children who had not been to the booths.

Children under five are immunised and often, an older child would take them to the booths, “so we often didn’t see the parents”, explained Valerie.

She reckoned she had dealt with about 100 children on her last visit and said it was good to know the numbers of new polio cases had been dropping over the last few years.

“I think that Rotary is absolutely fabulous. Rotary has been doing it for 30 years, without much recognition.”

Valerie said seeing people in Indian suffering from polio brought home the importance of the programme.

“It is horrible when you see people who have had polio and are paralysed. You see them out there wheeling themselves around on a cart. So, it is a good thing to do.”

The self-funded trip includes four or five days holiday and this time, Valerie will be visiting the Golden Temple, Amritsar, having experienced the Golden Triangle last time.

Valerie has been a Rotarian for just over three years and is one of 10 women in her club. Her husband, Gordon, who died four years ago, had been a member and his father, Albert, was a founder member in 1946.