International Links/ Eradicating Polio
Rotary International has played a major part in the eradication of polio
In 1985 Rotary International took on the challenge of ridding the planet of this killing and maiming disease by 2005, the Centenary of the creation of the Rotary organisation. This proved too tight a schedule, but with the involvement of the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and others the number of cases has fallen from 350,000 in 1988, to 37 cases in 2016.
To prevent this fatal and debilitating disease emerging again the job must be completed. Thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who double the contributions raised by Rotary, the end is almost in sight. The fight must go on until the World Health Organisation certify 3 years of a ‘disease free’ planet! Eliminating polio remains Rotary International's top priority. Bill Gates has said that without Rotary the fight against polio would never have been achieved.
The Rotary Club of Taunton has taken part in this battle last year by planting symbolic ‘purple crocuses’ in Vivary Park. The purple crocus has become the emblem of the Polio Eradication Campaign. In remote areas of the world, where literacy is low, a purple dye is used on the small children to indicate that they have received the vaccine.
The Rotary Club of Taunton continues to support the eradication of polio, giving annual contributions to the international Rotary initiative.