While no cases of Polio have been detected in Somalia since 2014, the campaign is a recognition of the need to maintain a high level of immunisation among the young as a preventative measure.
“We all now live in a global village and movement of people means until we have seen the last case of Polio, it will remain a risk to global health and should be a concern to all,” said Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “We need to tackle Polio, but also the after effects of this disease, as the young survivors of Polio today will be the adults living with PPS tomorrow. Some commentators believe this could run to 40,000,000 people worldwide with PPS by the time Polio is finally eradicated,” Ted added.
Ted’s comments come as the struggle against Polio enters its final stages. While eradication efforts have gone well, the war in Syria has shown how the virus can rise and spread where it was thought beaten. While perhaps understandable that war can allow the spread of disease, the discovery of traces of Polio in Australia recently shows there is no room for complacency elsewhere.
The British Polio Fellowship campaigns for an all encompassing approach in the battle to beat Polio – keen to support ongoing efforts to rid the world of the virus, but also determined not to forget some 120,000 people in the UK alone living with PPS – a neurological condition for which there is no cure.
“We have seen great strides made in 2017 in tackling PPS at home and taking the fight to Polio abroad,” added Ted. “We have seen a highly successful PPS Day at the Scottish Parliament, while the Government rightly pledged millions to support the eradication of Polio globally. Christmas is a time we think of children and the new campaign in Somalia will protect children there; taking the long-term wider view, it also reduces the risk of Polio spreading further afield and extending the PPS legacy even further into the future,” Ted concluded.
For further information about the British Polio Fellowship, visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.