U.S. Support Crucial To Achieving Polio-Free World
The Hill: Funding the fight against polio
Former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), United Nations Foundation Vandenberg fellow who served in the U.S. Senate from 2010 to 2016
“…[T]oday [progress against polio] is at risk … Alongside other longstanding donors, U.S. commitment will be especially crucial. American institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Agency for International Development are critical sources of the funding and technical expertise needed to train health workers and maintain disease-tracking systems in communities most vulnerable to polio. The returns on achieving a polio-free world will extend as long as future generations live free from the virus. … Stepping back on our commitment now could threaten [gains already made], risking a resurgence that could see 200,000 children paralyzed annually within a decade. Inaction would also undermine our broader health security, particularly Americans who travel abroad — as the world misses out on the chance to leverage the tools, workers, and surveillance systems used for the fight against polio to support the efforts against other deadly health threats. It is these costs — measured in lives damaged or lost, and in outbreaks undetected — that America truly cannot afford. For decades, Americans have led the push to realize a polio-free world for future generations — not because it was easy, but because it was worth it. It still is” (6/25).