Today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is sending an urgent message to other world leaders that now is the moment to act in the fight to end polio. The Secretary-General compares the polio virus to a wildfire noting that “the flame of polio is near extinction — but sparks in three countries [Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria] threaten to ignite a global blaze. But, like a wildfire, when handled properly, it can be stamped out for good.” Polio eradication is one of the Secretary-General’s top priorities in his second term.
The Secretary-General’s urgent message comes just days before the G8 Summit at Camp David and a week before the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Assembly (WHA) annual meeting, – two key occasions for world leaders to stand up and commit to the fight to end polio. The WHA is expected to pass a resolution declaring polio a global emergency at the Assembly and to endorse the Decade of Vaccine Collaboration’s Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP).
Together, they can push to deliver on an epic promise: to liberate humankind from one of the world’s most deadly and debilitating diseases.
As the Secretary General noted, now is the time to act. Polio eradication is not easy, but it can be achieved even in the most challenging circumstances. We’ve made tremendous progress toward ending polio forever, and we are all responsible – governments, leaders, and the public – to finish the job while we still can.
Well said, Secretary-General. Well said.