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Opinion Pieces, Editorial Address World Polio Day

The following is a summary of two opinion pieces and an editorial marking World Polio Day, which is observed annually on October 24.

  • James Shannon, Huffington Post U.K. blog: “While people are still at risk of contracting this disease, our efforts to eradicate polio — and to keep it at bay after eradication — must be sustained,” Shannon, chief medical officer for GlaxoSmithKline, writes. “Across the public health community, we must keep collaborating and keep innovating if we are to better understand polio and find new measures to tackle it. And, if we do manage to eradicate polio, we will need to ensure that it does not resurface,” he continues (10/24).
  • Ohid Yaqub, The Guardian’s “Political Science” blog: “The issue of attitudes to vaccination strikes me as severely underestimated,” Yaqub, a tutorial fellow at SPRU, University of Sussex, writes, adding, “In their zeal for eradication, some may be tempted to think that the rewards of eradication will be so self-evident that that it doesn’t matter whether people wanted to be vaccinated or not, so long as we manage to inoculate them somehow.” He highlights “a major review of literature on vaccination attitudes” he conducted with colleague Sophie Castle-Clarke and others, and concludes, “For me, the question is not ‘can we eradicate polio?,’ but ‘can we do it sustainably?’ We should not shy away from trying to answer it honestly with a new research agenda” (10/24).
  • Nigeria’s Leadership: “The world marks World Polio Day today against the backdrop of a determined effort by Nigeria to shed the toga of ‘polio exporter’ in the West African sub-region,” the newspaper states, and provides a history of Nigeria’s efforts against the disease. The editorial concludes, “The war against polio can be won within the next two years, if we sustain the current tempo and claim ownership of the fight. It is our cause. We owe our children nothing less” (10/24).