The number of global polio cases has declined to 200, after decades of effort by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
Canada was the first country to fund the GPEI, and has long been on the forefront of the battle to eradicate polio. We are now a stone’s throw away from finishing this terrible crippler of children, but the program is under assault from Islamic extremists, and our own Conservative government.
Just recently, nine volunteers immunizing children against polio were murdered in Nigeria. These courageous people knew that unless the disease is stopped now, it could erupt again and become the horrible plague it once was. They were willing to risk their lives for all of us.
Sadly, the safety off all such volunteers is at risk. Funding for polio eradication has rapidly declined, with the Harper government planning to slash funding from $35 million to $5 million by next year.
Money is needed not just for vaccines, but to provide armed protection for these workers.
People are putting their lives at risk in their efforts to rid the world of this scourge. The least we can do is support them with funding to allow them to complete their work.