The Global Polio Eradication Initiative on Thursday announced plans to launch an Emergency Action Plan aimed at boosting vaccination coverage in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan - the three remaining polio endemic countries. Meanwhile, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization was expected on Friday to pass a resolution calling the eradication of polio a “programmatic emergency for global public health.”
Since 1985, Rotary International has contributed more than $1 billion and countless volunteer hours to PolioPlus, a programme to immunize al the world’s children against the disease.
“We are 99.5% of the way there. This is going to be the hardest bit,” said Ray Burman, the President of Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland.
Burman told Vatican Radio If the disease is not defeated, there is a chance it will begin spreading again.
“It’s only a plane ride away,” he said. “If we neglect this, it will spread again out of control. We need to stamp it out. We can’t be complacent about this.”
Listen to the full interview by Charles Collins with Ray Burman: