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Rotary Update

Purple 4 Polio

Earlier in the spring you may have noticed masses of purple crocus on banks and open spaces around our local towns and villages. These crocuses have been planted to draw attention to Rotary’s Purple 4 Polio campaign. Locally some of the crocus corms were supplied by Rotary and planted by local organisations as part of local projects. Basingstoke Deane Rotary distributed 3000 corms last autumn which were planted around the borough and were in full flower this spring. Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years. Our goal to rid the world of this disease is closer than ever. But why Purple 4 Polio? In the early days of administering the vaccine it was given on a sugar cube. The younger children in places such as India thought it was a sweet and would join the queue again for a second sweet. To identify the children who had been vaccinated their little finger was painted with a purple dye. Hence Purple 4 Polio. It is now administered orally by dropping the required dose directly into the mouth using a dispenser. As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyse as many as 200,000 children each year. Rotary has contributed more than $2.1 billion to polio eradication since it launched the PolioPlus programme in 1985, and it’s committed to raising $50 million each year for polio eradication activities. Because of a 2-to-1 matching agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that means that, each year, $150 million goes toward fulfilling Rotary’s promise to the children of the world: No child will ever again suffer the devastating, paralysing and crippling effects of polio. Proof of how effective vaccination can be. Lindy Richardson