Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has announced its support for World Polio Day 2020 when it will light up its three Civic Buildings purple on Friday 23 October.
Polio is a highly infectious disease that mostly affects children under the age of 5. Although preventable by vaccine it continues to threaten children in certain parts of the world today.
The Rotary Club of Newtownabbey together with Rotary Clubs around the world will mark historic progress toward a polio-free world urging local communities to help end the paralyzing disease.
Purple has become the symbolic colour in the fight against polio, inspired by the colour of the dye painted on the little finger of a child to signify they have received the potentially life-saving vaccine.
With polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners are making real progress and aim to reach every child with the polio vaccine. That means around 2 billion doses of the vaccine to more than 400 million children in up to 60 countries every single year.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery said; “I’m proud that the Council is supporting World Polio Day. The work that the Rotary Club and partners have carried out in the fight against Polio over the past 32 years in remarkable and I hope that with the help of community support they can finally succeed in their fight to eradicate polio.”
President of Rotary Club Newtownabbey, Paul Hutchinson, said; “When Rotary and its partners launched the 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: Afghanistan - 51 this year and Pakistan - 74. Since 1985, Rotary has contributed more than $2.1 billion to ending polio and we in Rotary Newtownabbey with the support of our local community have continually supported the campaign from the beginning.”