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Opinion Pieces, Editorials Address Polio As Global Health Emergency

The following opinion pieces and editorials address the WHO’s declaration of polio as a global health emergency and efforts to eradicate the disease.

The Guardian: Polio: a case for real alarm
Sarah Boseley, Guardian health editor

“…The only real way to finish polio will eventually be to rid the endemic countries of the virus and that’s not impossible. If India managed it, so can the rest” (5/7).

Foreign Policy: A Clear-Eyed Look at Polio
Chris Elias, chair of the Polio Oversight Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and president of global development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Setbacks are inevitable in the ambitious effort to rid the world of any infectious human disease — a feat that has been achieved only once before, with smallpox. But these challenges should all be viewed in context: In spite of the newest obstacles, a world free of polio is still on the horizon” (5/5).

Press of Atlantic City: Vaccine foes fuel return of polio, measles
Joshua Keating, staff writer at Slate

“…The WHO’s warning is a good reminder of the obvious fact that vaccines only work if you can get them into people. Considering the immense risks that health workers undergo to immunize children in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones, dictatorships and failed states, the fact that here in the United States, preventable diseases like measles are making a comeback — in part because parents are being scared away from immunizing their children by normally respectable media outlets — seems particularly galling” (5/9).

New York Times: The Battle Against Polio
David Oshinsky, director of the Division of Medical Humanities at NYU Langone Medical Center

“…The recent success of India in making that country polio-free is testament to the fact that eradication is possible under the most difficult circumstances when the will to do it is there, and when governments cooperate with global health forces in a positive way…” (5/8).

Virginian-Pilot: Polio rises amid the ruins
“…[T]he long-standing effort to eradicate polio by 2018 is likely to be delayed, which means more children will suffer the ravages of an entirely preventable illness. … That outcome is unacceptable in 2014, and one that governments and private organizations here and elsewhere must work harder to prevent” (5/9).

Washington Post: What’s behind the WHO’s emergency declaration on the spread of wild polio
“…The WHO has called for travel restrictions in Pakistan, Syria, Cameroon and elsewhere to stop the spread by those who fly or travel by land. It may be tempting for the affected nations to shrug and take half-steps, but the threat of polio spreading is very real and poses a danger not only for their own populations but also for peoples far beyond” (5/8).

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