After reports of Polio surfacing in Kenya and Venezuela, news Nigeria has marked 22 months without a new case of Polio gives renewed cause for optimism. Perhaps we are on track to see this terrible disease vanquished by the time we mark 80 years of The British Polio Fellowship in 2019.
Success is down to the hard work of vaccinating on the ground, but money matters. Problems in Venezuela are largely down to the economy, so you can see why acts like Gates Foundation paying off Nigeria’s $76m debt to Japan are so important in helping countries defeat Polio. That amazing donation led to 80 percent vaccination coverage achieved; remarkable in a sometimes high risk country with access and security challenges.
The British Polio Fellowship supports the efforts of Rotary and others working to make global eradication a reality. Once achieved, survivors will need support with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) that still 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 of PPS and our experience will be invaluable in guiding the PPS patients of the future. Our support can be accessed today by visiting www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship