Seagoe pupils plant bulbs of hope in polio fight

Pupils of Seagoe PS help the Mayor, Councillor Garath Keating plant crocus bulbs. INPT43
Pupils of Seagoe PS help the Mayor, Councillor Garath Keating plant crocus bulbs. INPT43

Children from Seagoe Primary School helped to plant 1,000 crocus bulbs this week, in an optimistic display of the successful fight against polio.

The worldwide initiative was organised locally by the Rotary Club of Portadown which is planting 5,000 bulbs around Portadown.

After mid-term, the remainder of the bulbs will be planted at Lismore Comprehensive, Clounagh JHS, Ballyoran and Moyallon primary schools.

President of Portadown Rotary, Ernest Lawson, said the world must remain vigilant and support Rotary in its efforts to finally combat one of the world’s most debilitating diseases.

It is over 30 years since Rotary International launched its efforts to eradicate polio throughout the world.

During that time Rotary has been joined by the World Health Organisation and other organisations and individuals in an attempt to eliminate the disease.

Since then, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 per cent.

Rotary established World Polio Day to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk who led the first team of scientists to develop a vaccine. Polio has no cure but it is preventable.

Polio immunisation days have been organised by Rotary clubs throughout the world in an effort to completely destroy the disease.

When children are vaccinated they are marked with a purple marker - hence the purple crocuses - to identify them as being vaccinated.

The Rotary Club of Portadown, like other Rotary clubs, is planting crocus bulbs from which purple crocuses will flower in the spring.

It is hoped these will be a timely reminder of the success of the eradication programme.

The G7 countries commented in a statement that “the end of polio is within sight”.

Currently, there are 26 cases of polio in the world; 14 in Pakistan, nine in Afghanistan and three in Nigeria.