Colourful fight to rid world of polio

MEMBERS of the Rotary Club in Rotherham have been helping the organisation’s decades-long fight against polio.

The two club branches in Rotherham have purchased 8,000 crocus corms which are to be planted throughout the town to create purple flowers in the spring.

The Rotary Club of Rotherham and Rotherham Sitwell Club are hoping the initiative will help raise awareness after World Polio Day was held last Monday.

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Purple flowers will symbolise the purple dye painted on the little finger of children vaccinated against polio throughout the world.

The End Polio Now campaign has been a major fundraising project within Rotary worldwide for over three decades and the organisation has contributed more than $1.1 billion to the Global Polio Eradication initiative.

Rotary’s involvement has encouraged governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.

Christopher Holmes, End Polio Now champion for Rotary District 1220, said: “The Rotary pledge for a polio-free world was made in 1985 when there were 125 polio endemic countries and hundreds of cases every single day.

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“In the past few years, the number of countries reporting incidence of cases of polio caused by the wild poliovirus has drastically reduced but no child anywhere is safe until each one has been fully vaccinated.

Rotarians will continue to raise awareness and funds to consign this disease to history.”

Based on World Health Organisation figures, the number of cases reported in the world in 2020 was 140, but so far this year it is 23, all in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mozambique.