Global Leaders Unite to End Polio — But Where Is the U.S.?
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Last month, the U.S. government stood on the sidelines as much of the world united for the final push to eradicate polio. Now, Congress has a chance to put us back on track.
At the Global Vaccine Summit on April 25 in Abu Dhabi, world leaders committed $4 billion to the global effort to end this devastating disease. The unprecedented gathering — convened by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates — included longtime nation-donors such as the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany and new supporters such as the Islamic Development Bank and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Together they are investing in a new plan to get us to the finish line and achieve a polio-free world by 2018.
Since 1988, the number of new polio cases worldwide has plummeted from 350,000 cases to 223 last year. With only 26 so far in 2013, we have the smallest number of cases in the fewest countries ever, creating a dramatic opportunity for eradication. India, for example, was recently declared polio-free following an intensive effort to root out the disease.
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