Purple blooms and buildings as town shows its support
RECENTLY, Charnwood Borough Council’s offices were lit up with a purple glow for World Polio Day.
And come next spring, purple flowers will emerge all around the town.
The purple theme is to highlight the fight against polio which is being helped by Loughborough Beacon Rotary club.
A spokesperson said: “What are the purple flowers about? Wherever in the world children have been vaccinated against polio, the little ones think “if one dose is good, two would be better” and after vaccination they are tempted to sneak back to the queue to get a second dose. To avoid this a purple dot is painted on the child’s finger once they are vaccinated, so they don’t get a second go.
“To highlight the work done to reduce polio in the world, this year Loughborough Beacon Rotary club have supplied 6,000 purple crocuses to Charnwood. 1,500 are going to schoolchildren and 4,500 have been planted at several sites around Loughborough with the assistance of the council and its open spaces partner idverde who contribute so much to Loughborough in Bloom.”
The spokesperson continued: “We should add that the effort was supported by the Forest Road Greenbelt Gardeners that maintain the flowers between Epinal Way and the Toby Inn and by MP Jane Hunt, who has taken part in the planting with a trowel in her hands.
“World Polio Day is observed on October 24 every year to raise awareness of polio vaccination and progress with eradication of the disease.
It was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
“In addition, in 1981, Rotary agreed to donate polio vaccine to the WHO programme of eradicating several other pandemic diseases. By 1988 the World Health Assembly endorsed the efforts and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership based in Geneva was formed.
“At present, GPEI has six supporting partners, the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.
“So, what has been achieved? Older readers may recall hearing of polio epidemics when they were young, and the dread of contracting an illness that required being put into an iron lung. Worldwide in the 1980s there were almost 400,000 polio cases per year. Since then, over 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated, in 200 countries.
“This has required the efforts of 20 million volunteers and expenditure of over US$ 17 billion. Is it successful?
“The answer is very nearly. In the year to January 2021 there were only three cases of polio reported in Pakistan and one in Afghanistan.
“So, World Polio Day this year aims to get a message out to everywhere in the world that a final push is needed to finish the job.”