Rotary International has made the raising of awareness around polio and World Polio Day on 24 October one of its priorities again this year and the Brits Hartbeespoort Rotary Club will be visiting schools in Hartbeespoort the next week to raise awareness and funds to prevent the disease.

The Purple Pinky campaign will kick off at the Mountain Cambridge School on Friday, 15 October, and the club will visit Meerhof School on 22 October, and Pecanwood College on 29 October. The pinky fingers of children who contribute R5 to the cause will be painted purple. Proceeds go toward the eradication of polio.

When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350 000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus, namely Afghanistan and Pakistan.

With polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners are sustaining this progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million.

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