Citizens versus Extreme Poverty

Twenty years ago, a grass-roots movement led by Rotary International, a voluntary organization with around 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries, decided to attack. As of the mid-1980’s, there were more than 300,000 cases of polio per year worldwide, despite the disease’s virtual elimination in the richest countries, where vaccination was routine. Rotary took on the challenge of getting vaccines to the poor, in regions with weak or non-existent public health systems. Rotarians dreamed not only of reducing the number of polio cases, but of eradicating the disease entirely. This goal is now within reach.

Rather than wait for politicians to take up the fight against polio, Rotarians led the way. A few years later, the World Health Organization, and then other international agencies and donor countries, joined the cause, creating a coalition of official and private organizations that now support Rotary’s vision. By 2006, the number of polio cases had been cut dramatically, to well under 3,000 cases per year.

Complete eradication is in reach, but is still proving elusive, as small outbreaks have plagued one country or another in recent years. In some cases, such as Northern Nigeria, social resistance to the vaccine has blocked adequate coverage of the population. Pockets of polio transmission also persist in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In a few other countries, the disease has been sporadically reintroduced by travelers from regions where polio has not yet been eliminated. And, in rare cases, the vaccine itself has failed and led to infection.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/kc276Re;
  1. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    The Brexit Surrender

    European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have given the go-ahead to talks with Britain on post-Brexit trade relations. But, as European Council President Donald Tusk has said, the most difficult challenge – forging a workable deal that secures broad political support on both sides – still lies ahead.

  2. The Great US Tax Debate

    ROBERT J. BARRO vs. JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS on the impact of the GOP tax  overhaul.


    • Congressional Republicans are finalizing a tax-reform package that will reshape the business environment by lowering the corporate-tax rate and overhauling deductions. 

    • But will the plan's far-reaching changes provide the boost to investment and growth that its backers promise?


    ROBERT J. BARRO | How US Corporate Tax Reform Will Boost Growth

    JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS | Robert Barro's Tax Reform Advocacy: A Response

  3. Murdoch's Last Stand?

    Rupert Murdoch’s sale of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney for $66 billion may mark the end of the media mogul’s career, which will long be remembered for its corrosive effect on democratic discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. 

    From enabling the rise of Donald Trump to hacking the telephone of a murdered British schoolgirl, Murdoch’s media empire has staked its success on stoking populist rage.

  4. Bank of England Leon Neal/Getty Images

    The Dangerous Delusion of Price Stability

    Since the hyperinflation of the 1970s, which central banks were right to combat by whatever means necessary, maintaining positive but low inflation has become a monetary-policy obsession. But, because the world economy has changed dramatically since then, central bankers have started to miss the monetary-policy forest for the trees.

  5. Harvard’s Jeffrey Frankel Measures the GOP’s Tax Plan

    Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, outlines the five criteria he uses to judge the efficacy of tax reform efforts. And in his view, the US Republicans’ most recent offering fails miserably.

  6. A box containing viles of human embryonic Stem Cell cultures Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    The Holy Grail of Genetic Engineering

    CRISPR-Cas – a gene-editing technique that is far more precise and efficient than any that has come before it – is poised to change the world. But ensuring that those changes are positive – helping to fight tumors and mosquito-borne illnesses, for example – will require scientists to apply the utmost caution.

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now