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The US Must Continue Supporting Polio Eradication — And Here’s Why

When we hear about polio, we don’t necessarily think about it as a present-day issue. People like former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were once paralyzed by the disease, and his term began almost ninety years ago. The threat of polio feels very far away.  

But while it may feel like an issue of the past, polio still poses a threat to today’s global health. A potentially deadly and crippling disease, polio is highly infectious. In its most devastating forms, it spreads to the brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis and death.

Global Citizens have made enormous progress towards eradicating polio. Polio cases have decreased by 99% since 1988, according to the World Health Organization. There were 350,000 cases of polio detected in 1988 and only 37 cases were reported in 2016.

Take Action: The End Of Polio Is In Sight, But Continued Support From The US Is Essential

This massive reduction in new cases is a result of increased access to polio immunizations that protect children.

The US has led the fight for polio eradication since 1988, alongside Rotary International and UNICEF, and continues to play a crucial role in this battle. As the White House proposes cuts to foreign aid, US leadership in the efforts to eradicate polio is threatened.

Celebrities and public figures are joining Global Citizens to call on Congress to continue funding polio eradication efforts.

Read More: Vaccines: The World’s First Line of Defense Against a Pandemic

Celebrities like Nigerian singer-songwriter Tiwa Savage have become strong advocates for polio eradication. Influencers such as Kristen Bell and John Cena have even signed on as Rotary ambassadors for polio eradication.

Our work won’t be done until there are no new cases of polio in the world. Together, we can reach this goal by 2019. Call your representatives to make sure they support full funding for US foreign aid. Let’s #StopTheCuts and finish this fight once and for all.