The One Disease I Would Cure is Polio
Why polio? We are close to eradicating polio thanks to a concentrated effort that began in 1988, when the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, UNICEF, and the United StatesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) forged the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to eradicate polio as a global imperative.
The Initiative’s goal was simple eradicate polio so that surveillance, screening, and control measures, such as vaccines, would no longer be needed.
I feel it is important to sate that I am a member of Rotary International.
The first steps to reducing the incidents of polio took place in the 1950s and ‘60s, when both the polio vaccine was developed.
Since then polio was all but eliminated in the developed world. The vaccine was able to reduce polio to undetectable levels. However, surveillance and screening continued in order to be sure that it wasn’t reintroduced.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) only four countries in the world remain polio-endemic (India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan).
There is an active campaign that works at the local and grassroots level to overcome any existing obstacles to administering the oral vaccine and to set up clinics to give the vaccine.
This campaign is having considerable success, but, it was necessary to marshal considerable resource (time and money for example), to reach this point.
Why polio? The polio eradication efforts that are taking place provide an excellent model of what can be done when a project receives significant financial support and can train and work with volunteers from the communities where the disease is and can be a problem.
The support of the Gates Foundation provides the financial incentive that is needed to fight any diseas and the organizing work of the various partners and their subsequent financial contributions are what is needed if we are to successful tackle other diseases where there is a vaccine available.
Once we have eradicated polio it will be time to turn these resources towards another goal. What will that goal be, there are so many diseases plaguing humanity, cancer, malaria, AIDS/HIV, heart disease, diabetes, the list goes on and on.
Right now we are close to eradicating polio and while it will take time and more resources to achieve that goal, doing so nor only reduces suffering but shows what can be done, when a concentrated and cooperative effort is made towards a common goal.
Together we do make a difference.
The Gates Foundation
- Polio – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
We’re working to ensure that there are no cases of polio by 2010 and to certify the eradication of the virus three years later.