Polio has been declared as a global emergency by Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Experts have said that polio is now at tipping point and that any polio outbreak now could cause widespread damage.
"Over the last 24 months on three continents -- in Europe, in Africa and in Asia -- we have seen horrific explosive outbreaks of the disease that affected adults, and in some cases 50 percent of them died," said Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO's polio eradication campaign, to BBC.
Funding is seen as a major issue in eradicating polio. Many countries where polio isn't a threat cut costs on eradication programs. But, they face greater threats if polio strikes their country because the children are inadequately vaccinated.
"It’s a very ambitious program. The devil is in the detail of implementation," said Zulfiqar Bhutta, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, according to Nature.
India was declared polio-free this year. Experts like Nick Grassly, an epidemiologist at Imperial College in London have said that the success in India was remarkable. "The eradication in India indicates that the barriers are not technical, they are about management, implementation, oversight, and commitment to eradicating polio when it’s not at the top of the list of the things that [countries] are keen to do," said Grassly on Nature.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria said on Thursday that religious leaders have been enlisted to help root out polio from these regions, Reuters reported on Thursday.
"It is now a question of political and societal will. Do we choose to deliver a polio-free world to future generations, or do we choose to allow 55 cases this year to turn into 200,000 children paralyzed for life, every single year?," said Kalyan Banerjee, the president of Rotary International.
Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations wrote in Los Angeles Times," This week, the world's health ministers will declare a global public health emergency and call on the world to respond to the threat of a resurgent polio. Let's heed those calls, so we can make the threat of polio a distant and fading memory."
Global Polio Eradication Initiative is affiliated with the World Health Organization.
Published by Medicaldaily.com