World Polio Day

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.


  1. says

    I will tell you this. Say what you want about corrupt indian politicians… but Polio Vaccination is something they don’t screw around with. The Cold Chain is fantastic. Like sensible lowtech solutions to high tech problems.

    They vaccinate regularly and vaccinate everyone in a region yearly. It’s basically a nation that is trying to punch polio out by doing EVERYTHING possible to stop children being crippled.

    I haven’t heard of a single person here who is not vaccinated. Not one. Government schedules are followed to the day as well.

    It’s really impressive how effective the vaccine is.

  2. Cuttlefish says

    India is the real success story in the report. If memory serves, they have had one–just one–case this year. Here’s to that being the last case in India!

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