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Warum können wir Polio nicht besiegen?

BERN, LONDON, GENF – Der 24. Oktober 2016 sollte ein einzigartiger Tag in der Geschichte der Kinderlähmung sein. Wenn alles nach Plan läuft, wird es der letzte jährliche Weltpoliotag sein, bevor die Krankheit ausgerottet ist. Aber noch ist es verfrüht, zu feiern oder sich auf die Schulter zu klopfen; auch wenn wir wissen, wie man Polio ausrotten kann, haben wir die Aufgabe noch nicht zu Ende gebracht.

Man beachte: Im August 2014 erklärte die Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO) die Ebola-Krise in Westafrika zur gesundheitlichen Notlage von internationaler Tragweite (Public Health Emergency of International Concern bzw. PHEIC); sie hob diese Einstufung im März 2016 wieder auf. Im Mai 2014 hatte die WHO die internationale Verbreitung wilder Polioviren ebenfalls zur PHEIC erklärt, doch diese Einstufung hat nach wie vor Bestand, sodass man sich fragt, ob die weltweite Politik dem ausreichende Beachtung schenkt.

Sie sollte es. Die anhaltende internationale Polio-Notlage gefährdet den Erfolg der globalen Initiative zur Polio-Eradikation (GPEI), in die die Welt seit ihrem Start 1988 15 Milliarden US-Dollar investiert hat, und bedroht die Weltgesundheit im Allgemeinen.

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