Polio is a terrible crippling disease. It was once the major cause of disability. Before 1988 there were over 350,000 cases reported per year worldwide. Now it is down to about a 1,000 cases per year. India use to have more cases than anywhere else. Now it has reported only one single case in the last 18 months.
This is down to 25 years of hard work on the part of Rotary International and other agencies. For years the programme has depended on charitable giving and the precious time of individuals prepared to go out and help, at their own expense, in vaccination clinics. At last we are on the brink. One final push is needed to get rid of this dreadful disease once and for all. If we don’t make that effort now and leave off it will come back. That final effort will cost money. Bill Gates has generously contributed $355 million but there is still a need to raise a further $200 million world wide to see it through.
During national immunisation days in India, as many as 65 million children are immunised. Volunteers hold these days every six weeks, visiting remote villages and slum areas to deliver the life-saving vaccine. Although polio is nearly wiped out, work has to continue through this next generation of children to be sure to eradicate the disease for good. Booths are set up in major cities, attracting school children and families, who will travel for miles to protect their children. After vaccination each child has a finger dipped in purple dye for control purposes.
In order to bring your attention to the vaccination programme purple crocuses have been planted all over the UK. It is hoped that the 500 bulbs planted in front of the church last autumn will eventually multiply to make a magnificent springtime display. When you look at them please think about all the children walking around with purple “pinkies” who will now have a better chance in life. It will be wonderful when the day comes when no one else will ever have to suffer from polio. This can be a real success story! Will you please help?
Donations to the “Rotary Club of Kimbolton Castle” can be handed to Tony Scott, 15 Mill Road, Great Gidding or to Jed and Aruna at the village shop.