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End To Polio ‘Now In Sight’

“The massive effort to eradicate polio through worldwide vaccination hit some new speed bumps over the past several days, with fresh reports of outbreaks of the disease in the Horn of Africa, and continued deadly attacks on polio workers in rebel-controlled areas of Pakistan and Nigeria,” Jay Winsten, an associate dean and the Frank Stanton director of the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Sameer Anaokar, a principal at the Boston Consulting Group, write in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “Nevertheless, the overall outlook for eradication of polio remains highly promising,” but “the final stage of the effort presents complex, difficult challenges,” they continue. They discuss some of these challenges, including accessing “extremely hard-to-reach and underserved populations” and overcoming “political instability and violence in rebel-controlled areas of the three [remaining] endemic countries.” They highlight India’s success in eradicating the disease and write, “It is India’s dramatic achievement that has catapulted polio eradication to the top of the near-term global health agenda. The ‘last mile’ to eradication may be hazardous to transverse — but the end-point is now in sight” (6/6).