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Waarom kunnen we geen einde maken aan polio?

BERN, LONDEN, GENÈVE – 24 oktober 2016 moet een unieke dag in de geschiedenis van de polio worden. Als alles volgens plan verloopt, zal dit de laatste jaarlijkse Wereld Polio Dag zijn voordat de ziekte wordt uitgeroeid. Maar dit is geen tijd voor vieringen  of zelfvoldaanheid; hoewel we weten hoe we de polio moeten elimineren, hebben we het werk nog niet afgemaakt.

Denk hier eens over na: in augustus 2014 heeft de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) de ebolacrisis in West-Afrika tot een Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC, Volksgezondheidsprobleem van Internationale Aandacht) verklaard; in maart 2016 werd die status weer ongedaan gemaakt. In mei 2014 verklaarde de WHO ook de internationale verspreiding van het wilde poliovirus tot een PHEIC; maar die status is vandaag de dag nog steeds van kracht, waardoor je je gaat afvragen of de wereldleiders er wel genoeg aandacht aan besteden.

Dat zouden ze wel moeten doen. Het aanhouden van het polio-PHEIC bedreigt het succes van het Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI, Mondiaal Initiatief tot Uitroeing van Polio), waarin de wereld sinds de lancering ervan in 1988 $15 mrd heeft geïnvesteerd; en het bedreigt de mondiale volksgezondheid in het algemeen.

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