Sunday, March 9, 2008

Polio eradication

Polio eradication will hopefully happen within the next few years. You can track developments at the WHO website. The eradication of polio will be a big step for global healthcare: it will demonstrate that smallpox was not a unique case, and that with cooperation, funding and willpower diseases can be defeated. More importantly the eradication of polio will then free up resources to tackle other diseases. There are only a limited number of resources, and hopefully when polio is gone they can be directed towards other diseases like measles, guinea worm and trypanosomiasis.

As I mentioned, a polio vaccine was only available in the 1950's. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 10 to 20 million polio survivors worldwide and, as one of the largest disabled groups in the world, polio survivors helped to advance the modern disability rights movement. Wikipedia has an interesting list of famous polio survivors.

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