Lines on the return of Polio
A mother, doing what she thinks is right
Believes the lies and chooses now to fight;
She will not vaccinate. She is too young;
How quickly we forgot the iron lung.
So today is World Polio Day, and the news is mixed. The good news is, it’s still a preventable disease, and it’s roughly 99% eradicated.
The bad news comes from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s third report (pdf; do read it–it’s a remarkable report)– there are continuing deficiencies and weaknesses in the global eradication programs. With the exception of India and Angola, every country where polio persists has more cases this year than by this time last year. Three countries have already exceeded last year’s totals. The goal of worldwide eradication by 2012 is not quite impossible, but extremely unlikely at this point. Ineffective strategies continue to be pursued and politics (in both the national and internal senses) gets in the way of goals.
The problems vary from country to country, from war to ineffective leadership of eradication programs. The report is remarkable in its frankness; I hope that the people they criticize are willing and able to change.