‘Mile of coins’ to help wipe out polio

February 02 2015

SCHOOLS in Bristol are being encouraged to take part in a campaign to help rid the world of polio – by creating a mile of coins.

SCHOOLS in Bristol are being encouraged to take part in a campaign to help rid the world of polio – by creating a mile of coins.

Rotary in Bristol is handing out one-foot strips to be filled with donated coins in a bid to raise £15,000 for vaccinations in countries where polio still exists.

The fundraising effort is being backed by Mayor George Ferguson, who suffered from the infectious disease, which can be fatal, when he was only one year old.

Rotary David Wells of Bristol Breakfast Rotary Club, organiser of the campaign, said: "It would be great if we could get rid of this terrible disease forever. But the cause needs funds to make this possible.

"It costs just 36p to vaccinate a child. Therefore, every completed strip, which will have the money trebled, will pay for 24 children to be vaccinated.”

Each strip can carry around £2.90 and the event will end with the laying out of all the strips at the Mall, Cribbs Causeway, on February 21.

The campaign was launched on World Polio Day on October 24.

Mayor Ferguson, who was paralysed down his right side but learnt to walk again with the aid of a leg brace, said: "World Polio Day is not only about recognising polio as a truly debilitating disease, but it’s about working together to end polio once and for all.”

All the money raised from the event will be trebled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, set up by the billionaire Microsoft co-founder and his wife.

There are just three endemic countries left - Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan - and there is a global plan to eradicate polio completely by the end of 2018.

The Rotary started its campaign to eradicate polio in 1985 when there were more than 1,000 new cases of polio every day.

Since then Rotary and its partners, WHO, UNICEF and National Governments have wiped out polio from 122 countries and reduced the number of cases by 99.9%.

The last country to be declared free from polio was India early in 2014, after millions of children had been vaccinated.

For more information about this campaign and how to obtain a strip or donate on-line or by text visit:www.bristolpoliomile.org.uk