Join the fight to end polio


September 28, 2012 BY Timothy E. Wirth

Most of us have never witnessed the crippling effects of polio. The images of young children in iron lungs – airtight steel chambers that helped them breathe – left the front pages of newspapers long ago. In 1988, there were 350,000 polio cases worldwide. Today, levels of polio are at an all-time low, with only 145 new cases reported this year. But the fight isn’t over.

Over the last two decades we have made major strides in the fight to end polio – reducing cases worldwide by 99%. Polio is now endemic in just three countries – Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But we need your help to finish the last mile in the race to end the disease. Until eradicated, polio anywhere is a threat to children everywhere.

The last 1% will be the hardest. But we have new tools, new political will, renewed commitment from partners and new donors stepping in, that we can stop polio once and for all.

This week, during the UN General Assembly, I joined partners including Bill Gates, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and other world leaders to discuss how to protect children everywhere from polio. We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end polio forever and help children get a shot at a healthy life.

But, you don’t have to be a world leader to make a difference. You can be a champion in the global effort to eradicate polio by telling your elected officials to help. Tell your Member of Congress that NO CHILD should be crippled by an easily preventable disease like polio. The United States has been a long time partner of the global effort to end this disease and we need to continue the momentum to make polio history.

Thank you for joining the fight.

Timothy E. Wirth
President, United Nations Foundation

 

POSTED IN: Global Health, United Nations

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