World Polio Day
ROTARY FIGHTS POLIO AND IS WINNING!
IN 1986 Rotary International embarked on possibly its biggest commitment ever, the eradication of the disease of Polio from the world stage. It committed its Rotarians worldwide to finding the funds and supplying the organization to roll out an immunization programme in every country where Polio was endemic. At that time it involved 125 countries and 35,000 sufferers.
What a challenge and what an achievement. Thirty two years later we are proud to say that over 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated and today just three countries with an estimated 22, yes that’s right, just 22 sufferers are left; and we have them in our sights!
Rotary has not been alone in this mammoth task. Impressed by the objective and the international commitment none other than Bill Gates of Microsoft fame put the weight of his Charitable Trust behind the fund raising efforts. Quite incredibly, he has pledged to treble Rotary’s worldwide funding.
The Rotary Club of Rye and Winchelsea have been involved right from the beginning. In 1986 we contributed £3,000 and since then, many further thousands of pounds have been added.
In countries where literacy is a problem, the people at the sharp end of the appeal, those actually administering the vaccine, use a purple dye to mark the fingers of children who have received the vaccine and that colour has become symbolic with the work. So much so that to celebrate Polio Day (24th October, 2018) a number of Churches are to be lit up in a purple light.
St Tomas’s Church Winchelsea will join those churches and will be lit up for just one night on Wednesday 24th October this year. Rotary Club members would like to express their sincere thanks to Robin Paine, a well-respected local electrician, for providing and installing the equipment to achieve the lighting up the church.
Everyone who has, or would wish to support the appeal is invited to join Rotarian Robert Holland and colleagues at the Winchelsea Court Hall at 5pm on Wednesday for some light refreshments and then at 6pm to witness the switching on of the lights.
Although the campaign has been so incredibly successful it is still also incredibly expensive. To finish the job over 2 billion doses of oral polio vaccine have to be administered each and every year in over 60 countries until the world is finally certified polio free. In other words, we still need your financial support.
There will be no charge for persons visiting Winchelsea Court Hall but there will be a box for voluntary donations.