October 24th is World Polio Day

The Green Party of Canada wishes to mark World Polio Day on October 24th 2013.

“The international community has a unique opportunity to eradicate this childhood disease. We did it once with smallpox: let’s make history a second time by allowing the vaccine to reach children everywhere on the planet,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. Use of this inactivated poliovirus vaccine and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus, developed by Albert Sabin, led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. Since then, GPEI has reduced polio worldwide by 99%.

However, in 2012, transmission of indigenous wild poliovirus continued in three countries: Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In April 2012, the World Health Assembly declared the completion of polio eradication a programmatic emergency for global public health.

“Rotary International, in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been leading a campaign to eradicate polio. This global campaign has engaged thousands of Canadian Rotarians and, as a Rotarian myself, I salute their efforts,” said May.