Maintaining Public Health Assets Developed During Polio Eradication Efforts Critical To Reaching SDG 3
Devex: Opinion: Ensuring the end of polio means new milestones for public health
John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation
“…The Global Polio Eradication Initiative hopes to make polio the second disease ever eradicated … GPEI is taking lessons from the aftermath of the smallpox eradication program to ensure that we get over the finish line, and the assets and knowledge accrued by the effort are not squandered once polio is finally defeated. … A total of 16 priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia have been identified — where the bulk of the polio eradication infrastructure is located. If the infrastructure, assets, and health workers acquired by the polio eradication effort are maintained, they will provide an unmatched platform for taking on the health and development goals of the 21st century. Once polio is wiped off the face of the earth, we will mark a major step forward in pursuit of the third Sustainable Development Goal, to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages'” (7/9).