MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Australia supports vision of polio-free world

Australia supports the vision of a polio-free world | Courtesy of australia.edu
Australia’s government representatives will meet with two Australians from global polio-eliminating organizations in April to further the worldwide fight against polio.

The two Australian representatives are Chris Maher and Michael Sheldrick.

Maher, originally from Queensland, is manager of polio eradication and emergency for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region, based in Amman, Jordan.

Sheldrick, originally from Perth, is global policy director of the Global Poverty Project (GPP) in New York.

The two men will encourage Australia to continue its yearly contributions to support the international work eliminating polio. The contributions amount to millions of dollars, and Australian leaders plan to continue donating funds until 2018.

Polio has been eradicated from Australia for a long time and polio is almost extinct in other parts of the world as well.

“As an Australian, I’m proud of the contribution that Australia and Australians have made towards freeing the world from polio,” Maher said. “I know we can beat the disease in the last remaining areas if we have the backing of local communities and the international community. The desire to protect children against polio crosses all barriers–witness the response to the outbreak in Syria last year, where children were vaccinated in all parts of the country, no matter who held local authority and despite terrible conflict.”

“The world has never been in a better position to eradicate polio,” Sheldrick said. “Investment in this opportunity is the only way to yield the ultimate payoff: future generations of children will be free of this disease and the health of the world will long benefit from the program’s knowledge and infrastructure. Estimated benefits of polio eradication amount to more than $50 billion over 20 years following eradication, and will rise cumulatively each year demonstrating major economic benefits. That’s why in the weeks leading up to budget week, the Global Poverty Project, together with Rotary International and a number of other organizations, will be campaigning for Australia to stay the course.”