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Siddharth Chatterjee is Chief Diplomat at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. His struggle to raise awareness about the lingering danger of polio is personal; Sid is a polio survivor with first hand knowledge of the disease.
The reduction in global polio cases is a great success, but polio infection remains at endemic levels in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. African nations of Kenya and Somalia are home to a resurgence of the disease, pockets of infection can be found where vaccination is overlooked or inaccessible. Sid warns:
“We are at the last mile of getting rid of this deadly and crippling disease. Between Bill Gates, the US Government joined by others are making a huge difference. What is missing is advocacy and encouraging all governments and partners to come together around this common goal.”
Sid believes that by eradicating polio we are setting the stage for
eradicating other diseases and public health concerns. The overall success fighting polio is an example of how global awareness and aid make a massive impact on public health. Yet more work must be done to finish off the deadly disease.
“Collectively we can encourage positive change and impact global commons such as public health, critical for healthy nations and healthy children all over the world” Sid said in a message to about.me. Polio is preventable with vaccination, every single case is one too many.
The images atop this post shows the oral vaccine being administered in Kano, Nigeria. A single dose protects half of all recipients, and 3 doses ensures immunity in 95% of people (source).
top image courtesy of the Gates Foundation