Rotary Kicks Polio into Touch

The work of Rotary in the South of Scotland is invaluable in Rotary Internationals humanitarian mission. Their Purple 4 Polio campaign day at Melrose 7s demonstrated their innovative work in activities as part of the final push to eradicate polio for good.

Rotary International founded in 1905 has long been recognised for its huge contributions towards humanitarian issues at home and abroad. Now with just over 1.2 million members across the world in clubs similar to those found in the Scottish Borders they work together to promote peace, fight disease and promote positive growth within communities both in Scotland and abroad.

For over thirty years one of the Rotarian’s greatest causes has been the eradication of Polio across the world. Polio mainly affects children under the age of five with the World Health Organisation stating that one in two hundred infections leading to irreversible paralysis with 5-10% dying when their breathing muscles become immobilized. Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases then, to 37 reported cases in 2016. As a result of the global effort to eradicate the disease, more than 16 million people have been saved from paralysis. As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio.

Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world. The amount of polio-endemic countries has dropped from 125 to just three, with over 2.5 billion children receiving vaccinations thanks to the help of Rotary. In their latest fundraising efforts Blueberry Ice Cream has been created as it symbolises Rotary’s worldwide campaign to eradicate polio, with its colour representing the purple dye used to mark the finger of a child to indicate they have received their life saving oral polio vaccine.

The ice cream was sold at the 2017 Melrose 7’s in order to raise awareness for the campaign and with every purchase of a small tub of ice cream three children will receive the potentially life-saving vaccine. Along with the ice cream a team of Rotarians were on hand to help educate and explain how important the campaign was. Children and adults alike were encouraged to dip their finger in purple paint and mark a canvas to help demonstrate the amount of vaccines raised by these simple sales. The day was a huge success spreading awareness not only for the campaign but for the undeterred effort given by members of the rotary community. TC

If you would like to get involved with the campaign or find out more about your nearest
Rotary club visit www.rotarygbi.org

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