#264: Number Of Polio Cases Globally Drops To 1 Per Week; How Do We Get To Zero?
July 15, 2015 - Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://onforb.es/1HvwbKQ. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher. The polio virus is in its death throes. While it has been infinitely more difficult than the optimists hoped it would be 30 years ago, those who said polio couldn’t be eradicated will soon be proven wrong. In the mid 1980s, there were about 350,000 to 400,000 cases of polio each year around the world, despite the disease having been effectively eradicated throughout the developed world. In 2014, there were just 359 cases of polio, reflecting a 99.9 percent reduction over 30 years. On average, that number reflected a rate of about seven cases per week. So far, in 2015, the average number of cases per week has dropped to just barely above 1. We are, however, now in the heat of summer in much of the world, including in Pakistan and Afghanistan where the disease remains active. Polio thrives in the summer months and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, led by Rotary International and its partners the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the Centers for Disease Control with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is working feverishly to prevent any spread of the disease. Dr. Hamid Jafari of the WHO praises Rotary’s leadership in the effort to end polio, “The world is closer than ever before to eradicating polio, thanks to the tremendous efforts of Rotarians worldwide. A lasting polio-free world will be Rotary’s gift to all future generations. No child need ever be paralysed by this terrible disease.” Jafari notes that the work is not yet done, adding, “But to achieve ultimate success, we need the ongoing support of all Rotarians, to push the effort across the finish line.” Despite the progress, there are a variety of important questions that remain in trying to understand how this virus will be eradicated once and for all. Please consider whether a friend or colleague might benefit from this piece and, if so, share it.