Polio vaccine Media for medical/Getty Images

Help de heldinnen die polio proberen uit te roeien

NEW YORK – Afgelopen maand zegden regeringen en andere donoren 1,2 miljard dollar toe om het dertig jaar lange gevecht om polio uit te roeien over de finish te stoten. Op zijn hoogtepunt veroorzaakte de polio-epidemie jaarlijks 350.000 gevallen van verlamming in kinderen. Afgelopen jaar werden er slechts 37 gevallen gerapporteerd. Dit jaar staat de teller vooralsnog op zes.

Maar hoeveel momentum deze progressie ook heeft; de victorie over polio is nog geen feit. En het is één factor – de rol van vrouwelijke vaccinateurs – die voor succes cruciaal zal blijken.

Vrouwen staan al lange tijd in de frontlijn van de mondiale inspanning om een eind aan polio te maken. In regio’s zoals de tribale gebieden van Pakistan worden mannelijke vaccinateurs vaak het huis van vreemden niet binnengelaten, terwijl vrouwelijke gezondheidswerkers het vaccin aan kwetsbare kinderen aan kunnen bieden, samen met andere routine vaccinaties en basale gezondheidsdiensten.

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