Letter: Polio eradication possible

Canada is one of the nations investing in eliminating the disease.

Dear Editor,

I recently read a statistic on polio that made my heart beat a little faster: in 1998, 40 children per hour, worldwide, were being infected by polio. By 2016, that number was reduced to 40 children per year.

Is that not astonishing?

It would seem that it is within our grasp to eradicate this incurable but preventable disease.

This has only happened once before when in 1980, small pox was declared eradicated. The success behind the reduction in polio infections is due in large part to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) which was established 30 years ago.

I am proud to know that Canada has pledged $100 million to the GPEI as this is a worthwhile investment. Since the establishment of the GPEI, it has generated net benefits of $27 billion (USD) from reduced health care costs.

Complete eradication would result in additional net benefits to the globe of $19 to 25 billion (USD) over the next 20 years.

This is a step in the right direction for Canada. Not sure that ‘we’re back,’ but perhaps we are on our way.

Connie Lebeau, Victoria

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