Step in the right di­rec­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

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 US$27 bil­lion from re­duced health­care costs. Com­plete erad­i­ca­tion would re­sult in ad­di­tional net ben­e­fits to the globe of US$19-25 bil­lion 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, B.C.

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