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'Thanks for Life' – a Rotary programme to eradicate polio

Polio has affected the lives of millions of people. Rotary International, in combining the resources of all the Rotary clubs throughout the world, is helping to finance the global eradication of the polio virus in all its forms.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal disease. Fortunately, although incurable, it is easy to prevent. Protecting a child for life against this terrible disease can be achieved through a single vaccination at a cost of just 50p.

A single vaccination against polio will protect a child for life.

The purple colour on the fingers of inoculated children is the theme colour for 'Thanks for Life', a publicity programme run by Rotary to bring the polio eradication project to the attention of the wider public. Millions of purple crocus have been planted around the UK by Rotary; and, since crocus' flower year after year, there is hope of strengthening awareness of this important campaign within our communities.

Despite the enormous amount of work that has been done to eradicate polio over the years, there are three areas of the world where polio is still a very real risk to lives. Not only is polio a direct threat to the inhabitants of Pakistan, but the people who work tirelessly to immunise as many children as possible against this crippling disease are also in real danger of losing their lives. Aid workers are acutely aware of the risks they take in the more violent areas of Karachi, for example, and are known to have been gunned down, simply for vaccinating children.

Afghanistan is also still fighting against polio but has made significant progress in the southern regions of the country. The work is tireless and not without inherent cultural difficulties and security issues. And speaking of challenges, as if they didn't have enough to contend with already, children in war-torn Syria are now at the mercy of a recently reported outbreak of polio in the Deir Al Zour province.

Ruthin Rotary Club has supported this campaign over several years with financial assistance. Clearly, there is still work to do. Never can we give up the fight to eradicate polio once and for all. For more information go to End Polio