Polio eradication push gets MPs support
Polio eradication push gets MPs support at Parliamentary presentation
The Global Poverty Project has re-iterated its call for greater New Zealand engagement in the world-wide effort to wipe out the polio virus. With the support of Dr Jackie Blue MP, The End of Polio campaign will address a group of MP’s and special guests on Tuesday evening in Parliament.
“The End of Polio presentation at the Beehive is a great way for the public and political spheres to to see how we can stand up, represent New Zealand at an international level and be a contributor to see a polio-free world,” said d’Arcy Lunn, The End of Polio campaign manager for the Global Poverty Project.
The campaign is urging Minister McCully and other select representatives of the government to attend the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi on 24/25 April. The summit will be co-hosted by Bill Gates, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders as they discuss the polio endgame and other vaccination initiatives.
"Polio is a terrible disease that is totally preventable,” said Dr Jackie Blue MP. “We need one final push to eradicate it completely. I totally support The End of Polio campaign."
Around the world, The End of Polio campaign has gathered over 30,000 signatures and has helped secure over US$116 million in government pledges in the final push to beat the lingering disease.
Despite a strong record of support for global polio vaccination from the likes of Rotarians, who started the call to end polio back in 1985, the New Zealand government has cutback on funding in recent years, with no contribution to the international effort in 2012.
Polio is currently endemic in only three countries; Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. “We saw the lowest number of cases of polio ever, in 2012, just 223,” said Lunn.
Despite these low numbers, Lunn is quick to emphasize the need for additional funding and support at this critical time.
“Polio eradication is not guaranteed,” he said. “I will be giving a presentation with a robust Q&A session to learn about what we can do as New Zealanders to play an active role in the global eradication of polio.”
For William Watterson, the NZ Country Director for the Global Poverty Project, the effort to defeat polio is a milestone that will encourage everyone in the development sector and send a message about achievable goals.
“The end of polio will be a truly historic achievement,” said Watterson. “Not only will it demonstrate the power of collaboration on a 30 year effort that began with Rotary, but it reminds us that all the problems of extreme poverty are solvable if we work together in the right way.”
Watterson says that the global infrastructure set up to monitor, coordinate and deliver the polio vaccine can then be retooled for other purposes.
“Collectively, it’s one of the largest collaborations in history,” Watterson said of the alliance to eradicate polio. “We all look forward to the day when the minds and resources of this collaboration can be redirected to address the pressing needs of community health, nutrition, infant mortality, maternal health, and other topics and issues."
Jackie Blue MP will be hosting The End of Polio presentation
by d’Arcy Lunn at the Beehive Theatrette on Tuesday 12
March at 6:30