We're using a little bit of purple to highlight Rotary's activities to combat polio.
The 23rd February each year is Rotary Day, when Rotarians and clubs around the world celebrate Rotary.
This year many clubs have taken up the idea of a 'Purple Pinkie Day' to highlight Rotary's efforts to end Polio. So you may see clubs around the world marking the day in all sorts of ways.
But what, you ask, is the purple pinkie all about? Well, when youngsters in a country recieve polio immunisation during a National Immunisation Day their little fingers are marked purple so that the immunisation teams know they have been immunised; with literally millions of children attending immunisation days, it's the only way to keep track of who's received their life saving medication. Painting little fingers purple today is a symbolic gesture to raise awareness about this work.
Rotary’s pledge for a polio free world was made in 1985 when there were 125 polio endemic countries and hundreds of new cases every single day. Thanks to Rotary, and the support of our partners WHO, Unicef, CDC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, there are now just three countries still classed as endemic: Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. To finish the job over 2 billion doses of oral polio vaccine have to be administered each year in over 60 countries.
We are very lucky that in this country the NHS provides vaccinations and polio has not been found on these shores for decades. There are overseas communities who are not so lucky and unless we finish the job polio can and will come back. Rotary firmly believes everyone is equally deserving of good healthcare.
To read a factsheet with basic information about polio click here. (PDF file)
If you want to know more about ending polio and how you can help, please visit the End Polio website.
Find out more about Rotary around the world, please visit the Rotary website.