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The Other 99%: World Polio Day Marks Progress Towards Eradication (VIDEO)

The Other 99%: World Polio Day Marks Progress Towards Eradication (VIDEO)

A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. Not exotic diseases, but simple ones. We all know them by name: pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio. This year 1.7 million children will die from diseases that have all but disappeared in the United States, just because they don’t have access to the life-saving immunizations they need to survive.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Take polio for instance. The last polio case in the U.S. was in 1979. Today, according to the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, the number of new cases of polio – a disease that once paralyzed more than 1,000 children a day – has dropped 99 percent.  The world is now nearly polio-free thanks to a coordinated global vaccination effort. But germs know no borders of course and as long as the disease exists, the risk of spread remains. In fact, Shot@Life says, in 2009, 23 previously polio-free countries were re-infected due to imports of the virus.

Take a look at this video by Rotary International, which has been on the forefront of the battle against polio along with UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

And then look at this one by the Gates Foundation:

On World Polio Day  (originally established to mark the birthday of Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine), these organizations celebrate the real progress that’s been made in fighting this debilitating disease — but they also recognize that the road to eradication — to wiping out that final one percent — is a steep climb. As in so many cases with public health, funding is a major roadblock.  Only one other disease — small pox — has ever been eradicated. After all, immunization lasts a lifetime, points out the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

As Shot@Life — which, as it calls itself, is a movement to protect children worldwide by providing lifesaving vaccines where they are most needed, says, doesn’t everyone deserve a shot at life?

Related reading:

Never Underestimate The Power Of Mothers To Protect Their Children

World Health Organization Reports First Ever Decline In TB

The Next Billion: Measles Immunizations Reach Milestone

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Photo credit: unicef sverige via flickr

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1:18AM PST on Jan 14, 2012


3:34PM PDT on Oct 26, 2011
microbe says "Oh nos, but your vaccine is hurting you and your children more than I did, ffuffufuwah, that will be the revenge for my extinction!"

12:53PM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

My grandma is a polio survivor and she is going to be 88 next month.

4:53AM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

Thank you for the information.

4:12AM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

The luddites never disappoint!

1:12AM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

I contracted polio during the 1951 epidemic here in Australia. I was 7 years old. This was before the vaccine. I decry as outrageous the suggestions from commentators here that my polio was caused by malnourishment and a lack of sanitary conditions in my home. What an insult. I also take exception to polio being referred to in the article as a 'simple' disease. Polio is a virus which means once caught there is no cure. The only action is to prevent it through vaccination. I know many people confined to wheelchairs or with withered arms and legs in callipers who see nothing 'simple' about their condition. My fear is that people are becoming complacent about this hideous virus and are refusing to vaccinate their children as their 'right'. Polio is not dead and you risk another worldwide outbreak with your ignorance.

9:52PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

The polio vaccine never worked and caused a lot of cancer because it contained the simmian virus. Polio epidemics only occur in ummune deficient communities People actually carry the polio virus as a harmless micro organisms which only becomes pathogenic when the person is immuno compromised.It means that those who have been vaccinated with the live virus can actually get the disease when through malnutrtion which is common ,they are immuno compromised. and become the victim of the vaccination,

7:16PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Diseases are nothing more than opportunistic parasites, and contribute nothing to the environment except unnecessary suffering/death and waste of resources trying to prevent both.

There's a lot of disease we could wipe out entirely if we put forth the effort.

We wiped out small pox, and that #$@! not was not only very contagious, but lethal.

Of course, we'll have to take away the profit incentive for "treatment."

Drug companies would love it if you were constantly sick.

7:02PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Thank you for the article.

4:05PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

As a Rotarian I am proud of what has been accomplished. But more importantly, the need for support to go the last step can not be underestimated. If a massive outbreak of Polio were to occur, most 1st world nations are not protected. It could cripple millions. Support this effort for, it is sad but true, that the fewer number of cases reported required greater number of dollars to get the job done. We are "this close." Help end this horrible disease forever.

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