Polio awareness campaign gaining momentum ‘down under’

World polio day

By Howard Tong, Rotary public image coordinator, Zone 7B

In honor of World Polio Day on 24 October, Rotarians down under want to raise public awareness and our End Polio now campaign. They want to draw attention to the fact that polio is only a ‘plane ride away’ from coming back into the Pacific and that everyone can play a part in eradicating this disease.

Polio immunization in New Zealand began in 1957. While the last reported case of the wild poliovirus occurred in 1962, there are still the vivid memories of the suffering this disease caused in our community.

Every effort is being made to have World Polio Day include as many people as possible so the public can learn that ‘polio is on the way out’! All of the proceeds will be donated to PolioPlus and every US$1 will be matched with US$2 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a local member state, “The eradication of polio worldwide is one of Rotary’s main missions and our club is happy to get the message out there to our community.”

Here are some of the events that districts and clubs are holding to raise awareness:

  • A ‘Purple Pinkie Day’ is planned; members hope that all six districts in the South Pacific will be involved.  It will involve schools, posting videos on social media sites and increasing the public awareness with a drive to get television coverage of their efforts.
  • Mufti Days (Casual clothes day) are happening in schools before 24 October. Children are encouraged to dress up in purple for the day, have their pinkie painted purple (similar to immunization days overseas) and local club members will be available to address groups of children and hand out brochures on polio. Children are also encouraged to draw posters which shops can use to promote Polio eradication on 24 October. Local media will be notified about these activities.
  • Last year, a community street donation event was held to great success and will be repeated again this year.  Last year one district collected over US$20,000.
  • On 4 October at 1430 NZT, one club plans to devote a special segment on their monthly radio programme “Radio Matters”, broadcast on a local community radio station, to promoting World Polio Day.
  • Members and their friends are encouraged to join the “World’s Biggest Commercial”. New Zealand is ranked 38th out of 158 participating countries around the world.

Through the energetic promotion from Rotary Down Under, Rotarians are encouraged to sell eye-catching red ‘End Polio Now’ tee shirts and are asking purchasers to wear them in public places. Rotarians are also encouraged to wear an ‘End Polio Now’ lapel pin to raise public awareness.

Learn more about Rotary’s Polio campaign and join the livestream on World Polio Day.


2 thoughts on “Polio awareness campaign gaining momentum ‘down under’

  1. It is very powerful when all the Governors in our Zone collaborate and work to the same agenda. This is a great strategy which future governors are following to increase the impact we can make in our community.

  2. Innovative ways for promoting Rotary by Howard Tong are bringing positive quantitative results. We’ll see part of it in RI Convention, Sydney, 1-4 June 2014

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