Following a major global health milestone last month, District Governor Julie Mason urges all District Clubs to join her in the global fight to eradicate polio by participating in Purple Pinkie Day in recognition of World Polio Day on 24 October.
Purple Pinkie Day is a simple way to engage with your local community to help them support Rotary’s fight against polio. Contact your local schools, businesses and community organisations to paint their fingers purple – with purple nail polish, purple paint, or anything else purple. It is a representation of the purple dye used in developing countries.
We aim to “Give Polio the Finger!”. Make sure you take photos and videos, and post on your club’s Facebook Page. This year World Polio Day is a Saturday, so your club may wish to do get involved on Friday 23rd October as well, particularly with schools and businesses.
This Purple Pinkie Day comes at an important time in the fight to eradicate polio, which would be only the second human disease to be eradicated, after smallpox. In September, the World Health Organization declared Africa’s last polio-endemic country, Nigeria, polio-free, leaving only two countries which have never stopped the virus: Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 1988, when Rotary and its partners committed to eradicating the disease, polio paralysed more than 350,000 children per year in 125 countries – or, more than 1,000 per day. Since that time, the number of polio cases has been reduced by 99.9%, with less than 50 cases in two countries to date in 2015.
On 23 October, Rotary and UNICEF will host an event in New York City which will stream live online, providing an update on the world’s progress against polio, with notable speakers including journalists, health experts, celebrities, polio survivors and more. Viewers can tune in live at 6:30 PM EDT, or watch a recording of the event any time after it streams.
Rotary has contributed more than US$1.4 billion to ending polio. Funds contributed to Rotary are tripled thanks to a 2:1 match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Rotary is joined in the fight to end polio by its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership that also includes the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.