Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Polio will be eradicated

Polio thrives in climates of neglect and indifference, but the world's refusal to accept its existence will drive it out wherever it may live.

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Polio Outbreaks: What You Need to Know

In the last week, the World Health Organization confirmed that three children— two in Ukraine and one in Mali— were paralyzed from circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV). Though the Ukraine and Mali cases are unrelated, the root cause was failure to vaccinate children, leaving large populations of unprotected kids in these areas.

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Polio Eradication: How a watch can change the world

Over the next five years, five different watch designers will participate in Rotary International’s Time to Act project, creating five unique watches to raise funds that will help stop polio once and for all.

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Polio-Free South-East Asia Region: A Triumph That Transcends All Boundaries

In 2006, I was working for WHO’s National Polio Surveillance Project in India where I was responsible for surveillance and immunization activities to facilitate polio eradication. On my way back to my office one day after examining a child suspected to have polio, I took the above photo as we were driving past the international border between India and Bangladesh. 2006 was the year when Bangladesh reported 18 cases of polio after not having a case since 2000. The outbreak came from across the border in India, which, had nearly 670 cases that year. This image of the setting sun that evening reminded me of the reality of infectious diseases and vulnerabilities of us, the people, and the countries. The sun setting on the Bangladesh sky had its reflection across the man-made barbed wire border, onto the Indian waters. The parallel was too evident to be missed: as long as polio remained on one side of the border, it could cross over and infect children on the other side.

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Effort to Achieve a Polio-Free World Gets a Shot in the Arm

The fight to eradicate polio symbolizes what global health is all about. To wipe the virus off the face of the earth, we have to reach virtually every single child with the polio vaccine. No matter who they are. No matter where they live. However, not every child is lucky enough to be born in a country that is able to afford all the lifesaving vaccines. For example, until three years ago, children living in the poorest countries were not immunized against rotavirus and pneumonia, the two leading killers of children under five. This changed when an organization called the GAVI Alliance helped negotiate lower prices for these vaccines and started working with poor countries to introduce them into their routine immunization systems.

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