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U.S. Investment In Polio Eradication Must Be Protected

“Spying is a messy business that necessarily involves deceit, and U.S. intelligence operatives need latitude to do their work. In this case, however, the planners and approvers of the CIA [vaccine] operation didn’t appropriately calculate the possible consequences of their actions on an agenda that is as important to the world as fighting al-Qaeda,” a Bloomberg editorial states.

“Eradication of smallpox saves the world more than $1 billion a year, according to the WHO. If polio transmission can be stopped by 2015, the net benefit from reduced treatment costs and gains in productivity will be $40 billion to $50 billion, according to a recent study,” the editorial notes, highlighting other benefits of eradicating the disease. “These are goals worth investing in, and the U.S. government has done just that. Its share of the $9 billion in contributions and pledges to the polio eradication effort through 2012 is $2 billion. That investment needs to be protected. Future U.S. intelligence schemes should take it into account,” the editorial concludes (7/28).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.