St Edmund’s floodlit in purple for World Polio Day

St Edmund’s School was delighted to support The Rotary Club of Canterbury Sunrise with this year’s event floodlighting the main buildings in purple on World Polio Day.

On Wednesday 24th October, staff and pupils gathered with members of the Rotary Club on the terrace in front of the school.  During the celebrations for World Polio Day, The Rotary Club members raised over £750 towards the cost of vaccination of children against the disease.

The colour purple represents the colour of the dye placed on a child’s finger to show they have been immunised against the disease. With millions of children vaccinated every year, in many instances in the space of just a few days, this makes it easier to see who has been protected and who has not.

Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) over 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.99%, from about 350,000 cases a year in 125 countries to just 22 cases in 2017 and with just three remaining polio-endemic countries: Afghanistan; Pakistan; and Nigeria.

Whilst tremendous progress has been made, the final steps on any journey are often the some of the hardest and 2018 has been far from easy, with 14 cases in the first eight months of the year.

The end is very much in sight and Rotary has committed to raising US$150 million between 2017-20 in support of global eradication efforts.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s commitment 2:1 so every £1 becomes raised £3. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralysing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk, including the UK.

Photo Credit: Peter Cook