Last week marked the 30th anniversary of Rotary's commitment and hard work in fighting to eradicate polio across the world. The number of polio-endemic countries has dropped over the last 30 years from 125 to just two, with over 2.5 billion children receiving vaccinations thanks to the help of Rotary.
In 1986 there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries; this year there are just 18 cases, in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Adopting plans that eradicated the disease recently in India and Nigeria has a great chance of success.
Purple dye is used to mark the finger of a child who has been immunised. So, the outgoing Rotary President Barry Hatch invited members of Maidenhead Thames Rotary Club to turn up at their meeting last week in purple to celebrate the success to date and continued commitment. Pakistan is on the World radar, and by adopting plans that worked well to eradicate the disease in India and Nigeria, they should have no cases by the end of the year.
Chris Chugg, the Incoming President of the Rotary Club advised "The challenge will then begin to keep the two countries polio-free for three years so it can officially be declared clear".
John Carr, leading Friends of Maidenhead, added "We are also presently in the process of planting purple crocuses in Town as a symbol of Rotary’s worldwide campaign to eradicate polio".