Polio eradication has been a huge success across the world. Thanks to mass vaccinations and big medical campaigns, we have only the final one percent to destroy. Since 1988 there has been a greater than 99.9 per cent drop in cases but conquering the final percentage point remains elusive.
Polio still has Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria in its grip, but we must not lose hope. The darkest hour is always before the dawn. Thanks to Rotary and the work of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, millions have been saved from paralysis and death and the prospect of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) in later life. The human and financial cost of these efforts continues to be great, but the risk of Polio returning is greater still.
That British Polio marks its 80th anniversary next year is a testament to the persistence of Polio and PPS, a neurological condition which still affects 120,000 people in the UK. Polio has existed for thousands of years and was never going to relinquish its hold without a fight. In areas blighted by poverty and war, reaching every last child is not a challenge for the faint of heart. History has shown we all need to work together to see the result we all want to see but we are too close to give up now.
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship