After reports of Polio re-appearing in Kenya and Venezuela, news that the Rotary has announced a $96.5 million grant to end Polio gives renewed cause for optimism. This news gives hope that we can turn our backs on Polio by The British Polio Fellowship’s 80th birthday in 2019.
The announcement by Rotary comes in wake of Nigeria being free from reported cases of Polio over the last two years, suggesting eradication is near. This also points to the improved surveillance and rapid response protocols Rotary and its Global Polio Initiative partners have established. While this is promising, Rotary has also ramped up efforts to ensure political and financial support in order to end Polio once and for all. Polio is still rife in many parts of the world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, meaning the fight is not over yet but this grant is sure to help speed up the eradication.
Survivors will need support with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), a neurological condition that affects 120,000 people in the UK. Even after the last case of Polio, its unwanted legacy will live on for years to come. Our members still wait six years on average for a diagnosis and our experience will be invaluable guiding PPS patients of the future. Our support can be accessed by visiting www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship