To celebrate this year’s World Polio Day, supporters from over 30 countries, across every region of the world, joined the Make Polio History campaign to tell global partners, donors, and polio-affected country governments that eradication is possible and urgently needed now.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has the knowledge and tools to end polio for good, but we cannot do it alone. Throughout the campaign, polio champions around the world built a long list of some of the greatest wins for humanity—from the creation of the first vaccine to the harnessing of electricity—and shared why polio eradication can and must be added to this list.
Well-known figures like Bill Nye, Adina Porter, Prue Leith and Itzhak Perlman voiced their support for a healthier future for children everywhere. Health workers in Afghanistan and Cameroon joined in as well, along with Fiocruz President Mario Moreira, Dr. Naveen Thacker of the International Pediatric Association, GPEI Gender Champion Minister Andrew Mitchell, and other doctors and researchers from India, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
We know that eradicating polio is not easy, but making history never is. The polio eradication effort—from global partners to country governments to local frontline health workers—has a long history of innovating and adapting in the face of adversity.
GPEI partners know this well, from WHO leadership in the Eastern Mediterranean and African Regional Offices to UNICEF teams in Sudan and Ethiopia, who also participated in the campaign. Rotary International has been there since the beginning, as CEO John Hewko was proud to share, and will continue to be until the end. And finally, members of the GPEI’s Polio Oversight Board recognized the global support shown throughout the campaign, and committed their efforts to delivering a polio-free world.
Today, there are proven strategies and new tools to deliver vaccines in the highest-risk areas for polio, which are also some of the world’s most challenging and hard-to-reach settings. Promising trends in polio-affected countries that have been seen in other places now polio-free suggest that today, the virus is truly on its last leg. With continued attention and support from donors, partners and affected country governments, polio eradication is within reach.
It will take all of us, but together, we can make history again and end polio for good.
Visit the Make Polio History website to hear more perspectives from polio champions from around the world, and to lend your voice to the effort.