If you take a stroll around town on the evening of 24 October you may see the Town Hall bathed in purple Light. This is because it’s World Polio Day
The colour purple is used because in third world countries a purple dye is used to identify which children have received the polio vaccine.
Anyone in their seventies is likely to remember polio in the UK as a terrible disease that killed and paralysed some of the young children around them. Thanks to vaccinations most of the younger population will have no such bad memories.
In 1985 Rotary International committed to lead a worldwide campaign to eradicate the disease. At this time, Polio was endemic in 125 countries where over 1,000 children were paralysed worldwide every day! Today almost all these countries are polio-free: final eradication of the disease now centres upon immunisation programmes in Pakistan and Afghanistan where this year there have been 5 and 2 cases respectively. This may not sound many – but until it is totally eradicated another epidemic could still spring up – and so we press on to the final eradication.
Rotary Clubs in the Thames Valley District continue to support the polio campaign, raising funds and raising awareness, lighting up buildings, planting crocus corms, holding charity golf days, hosting world polio day dinners to name just a few. In Banbury, schools have helped us raise major sums through the children’s concerts. All recent donations to the Rotary “End Polio Now” campaign have been matched 2 for 1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us in our efforts raise awareness of the disease and contribute financially to its final permanent eradication.