Opinion: Don't fall at the finish line in the race to eradicate polio
A young girl receives a polio vaccine at a Kabul, Afghanistan, hospital in September 2011.
May 30th, 2012
05:26 PM ET

Opinion: Don't fall at the finish line in the race to eradicate polio

Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate is Minister of State for Health in Nigeria. Dr. Christopher Elias is president of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Pate and Elias.

By Drs. Muhammad Ali Pate and Christopher Elias

The two of us are roughly the same age but we grew up in very different parts of the world. One of us had the luxury of never giving polio a second thought. The other saw his best friend paralyzed by the disease and, some years later, killed by a car as he struggled to cross the street.

It’s a tragic story of the inequities that separate rich countries like the United States from developing countries such as Nigeria. But it's also a hopeful story as progress on polio eradication is made.

In less than a quarter century, the number of children paralyzed by polio has dropped spectacularly — from 350,000 cases annually to just 650 last year. In 1988, there were 125 countries where polio was endemic. Today, there are just three - Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. FULL POST

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