Purple Crocuses to End Polio Now.

Purple for Polio

Purple for Polio on the De la Warr Pavilion Lawn

If you pass the De la Warr Pavilion in the springtime you will see three rings of purple crocuses on the lawns there and may wonder what they signify.
They were planted by Bexhill Rotary Club and the pupils of King Offa School to highlight the eradication of Polio, a disease that once caused widespread death and permanent disability across the globe but is now limited to a handful of cases in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region of the world.
This process was started in 1979 when Rotary International embarked on a project to vaccinate 6 million children in the Phillipines against Polio. Then, in 1988, Rotary launched the Global Polio eradication Initiative along with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention; this was joined in 2007 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which donates $2 for every $1 that Rotary raises up to $35million a year.
Over the years over 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated - the purple is because they have finger dipped in purple dye to signify that they have been treated. This vaccination is what has reduced the incidence of this cruel disease.
It is imperative that the last pockets of polio are eliminated to make it a disease of the past but this is presenting some problems due to the remoteness and superstitions of the still infected people so at present funds for continued work are still needed. 
Over the years Rotary International together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have given $1.6 billion towards this cause; Bexhill Rotary Club, thanks to the generosity of local people, have contributed several thousands of pounds.So next time you walk past the De la Warr remember how close we are to elimination Polio worldwide.

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