Buildings and landmarks around the world were floodlit in purple yesterday to honour End Polio Now, including Hopetoun House and Queensferry Parish Church.
The world-wide campaign to eradicate the disease has gathered wide support, including from the Rotary Club of South Queensferry which has been fundraising for the cause.
The World Health Organisation and local health authorities, supported and funded by Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have succeeded in reducing incidences of the disease by 99.99 per cent. Polio mainly affects children under five. There is no cure, but it is preventable with a vaccine.
The purple theme was inspired by the purple dye put on the pinkies of children who have been vaccinated.
The programme has been so successful that polio is now endemic only in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. In 2018 only 21 new cases were reported in Afghanistan and 12 in Pakistan. For the second year running there were no new cases reported in Nigeria. Until we end polio for ever, every child is still at risk.
Bill Gates said: “The world’s progress in fighting polio must be one of the best-kept secrets in world health.
“We are closer to ever to eradicating polio, but we still need funds to continue immunisations and surveillance programmes.”
Jim McCulloch, president of the Rotary Club of South Queensferry said: “This year the club gave purple crocus corms to people who donated to our collection at Tesco last weekend.
“We raised £666.06 and every £1 will be increased to £3 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We are grateful to everyone who donated and in springtime the purple flowers will remind us all of this world-wide campaign.
“The Rotary club must thank Piers de Salis, general manager of Hopetoun House, Geoff Crow, director of 21CC Group, head of production Nick Barrass and Neil Fleming for floodlighting Hopetoun House on our behalf. Alistair Pryde of Words&Pictures took the photograph. Thanks also go to the Rev. And David Cameron for allowing the tower of Queensferry Parish Church to be illuminated to mark World Polio Day.”