President Kevin pictured in front of the Mansion House
October 24th was World Polio Day, and like many Rotary Clubs across the world, we recognised Rotary's immense contribution to the progress of eliminating this disease across the planet, by illuminating part of the York Mansion House in purple.
The significance of purple is that this is the colour used to mark the fingertips of children who have been immunised during mass polio vaccination programmes, especially in the third world.
Until the onset of the COVID pandemic, polio was on the verge of being extinguished as a disease, with only a few cases remaining in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Africa was declared polio-free a couple of months ago, and India a few years ago. The impact on the Polio Plus programme of the set-back in immunisation activity forced by COVID remains to be seen, but will certainly mean a need to re-double efforts towards eliminating this life-threatening disease.
Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years, and Rotary members, working with communities around the world, have contributed more than US$2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to the fight to end polio.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six core partners - the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.