Barcelona (FCB).- Monday October 24th is World Polio Day, an illness that has been mostly eradicated but that still persists in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Since 1988 nearly 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated against Polio and the incidence of the disease has diminished by 99%. The Fundació FC Barcelona and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released a video to increase awareness of the disease, supporting the campaign to eradicate this illness. Both organisations had signed a strategic alliance last July.
“More than a goal. End Polio”
FC Barcelona have placed their powerful media profile and global reach at the service of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help the development of programmes aimed at ending the disease under the slogan: ‘More than a goal. End Polio’. As part of that commitment, Barça first football team players all wore shirts bearing the words “End Polio” before last Saturday’s game at the Camp Nou, with the number 99 on the back, referring to the 99% eradication rate of Polio.
Bill Gates wearing a Barça shirt
In the video aimed at increasing awareness of the disease, Bill Gates, who can be seen wearing a Barça shirt, explains that: “no other sporting institution in the world shows the same passion for resolving social problems”, and goes on to say that he is “proud “ of the alliance signed between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and FC Barcelona. In the same vein, Barça President Sandro Rosell states that Barça have “chosen the best team to beat this illness - the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”.
The manager of Barça’s first football team, Josep Guardiola, also features in the video clip, produced by Barça TV. Guardiola restates the first team squad’s “commitment “ to the cause. There is also a call to join up with the campaign via its official Facebook page .
What is Polio?
Polio is an infectious disease which attacks the body’s nervous system and can result in irreversible paralysis. It is spread in places with poor hygienic conditions and principally affects young people and children. There is no cure for Polio, but an effective vaccination does exist, which is administered in various doses during childhood.
Global campaigns against Polio have reduced the cases of the disease by 99%. In 1988 the disease killed or paralysed nearly 350,000 people throughout the world, whilst in 2010 less than 1,500 cases were reported. Even so, the disease persists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria. Polio could be the second disease to become completely eradicated after smallpox.
According to the Catalan Government’s Ministry of Health, no case of Polio has been recorded in Catalonia since 1983.
The video can be accessed via the following link: http://www.youtube.com/user/fcbarcelona#p/u/2/c7gV4fe_xro