Council backs World Polio Day
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is supporting the Rotary Club of Newtownabbey by lighting up Antrim Civic Centre, Ballyclare Town Hall and Mossley Mill purple, on October 24, to mark World Polio Day.
Purple has become a symbolic colour in the fight against polio, inspired by the colour of dye painted on the little finger of a child to signify they have received a potentially life-saving polio vaccine.
Rotary Members across the United Kingdom will host a number of events to celebrate the achievements made since pioneering efforts to rid the world of polio were launched more than 30 years ago. Since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) polio has plummeted by more than 99.99 per cent, with just two countries reporting cases of wild poliovirus, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In order to sustain this progress, around 2 billion doses of the vaccine still have to be given to more than 400 million children in up to 60 countries every single year. This is in addition to the routine immunisations that happen elsewhere around the world, including in the UK and Ireland.
Without full funding, political commitment and volunteer-led social action, there is a threat that polio could return, putting children worldwide at risk. Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts, with that funding matched two to one by the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation.
Rotary has contributed more than US$2.0 billion to ending polio since 1985, and the Rotary Club of Newtownabbey have supported this campaign from the beginning.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Billy Webb said: I am pleased the council is supporting the Rotary Club in their fight to rid the world of polio. Their tireless efforts have paid off with just two countries worldwide still reporting cases of polio. This campaign will help raise awareness of the continuing fight against this disease.”
Roland Bailie President of Rotary Newtownabbey, added: “The Rotary Club of Newtownabbey is delighted by the support of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in bringing World Polio Day to the attention of the local community.
“During the 1940/50s the polio virus was existent within the local community with Whiteabbey and Greenisland hospitals being centres used to treat and isolate the young people, whose families rarely got to visit.
“Since then polio has been removed as a threat from our society, however Rotary, along with World Governments and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are determined to rid the disease from the worldwide community.”
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