Polio cases have decreased by more than 99.9% globally in the past 30 years and there are only three countries in the world where children are still paralyzed by this debilitating virus. To achieve a polio-free world, it’s critical to protect this global progress and root out the virus in its final hiding places. In 2013, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) developed a new roadmap for immunizing all children and ending polio once and for all. The GPEI partners asked GHS to build global support for the plan and momentum for its implementation.
GHS saw an opportunity to engage prominent scientific experts to create confidence in the feasibility and importance of eradicating polio. In partnership with three leading scientists from Pakistan, South Africa and the US, GHS conceived of and orchestrated the Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication, a public show of support for the GPEI’s eradication plan from the global scientific community. The declaration endorsed the plan and made the case for taking urgent action to end polio.
More than 400 scientists from 80 countries signed the declaration, including Nobel laureates, vaccine and infectious disease experts, public health school deans, and physicians. Launched just weeks before the official release of the GPEI’s plan, the declaration was instrumental in bolstering global support for the eradication effort and helped secure US$4 billion for the plan’s implementation. The declaration also generated news and opinion pieces in support of polio eradication in major international media outlets. GHS continually engages this network of influencers through op-eds, interviews and speaking opportunities that
- WSJ: India’s Great Polio Legacy
- The Independent: The end of polio by 2018 – unless the funding dries up
- Scientific American: Lessons from Smallpox Guide Polio Endgame
- SciDev: Scientists back roadmap to rid world of polio by 2018
- KFF: 400 Scientists From 80 Countries Sign Scientific Declaration On Polio Eradication