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Eliminating polio requires global, coordinated effort -- Health Affairs article highlights risks, rewards of eradication
Date:7/13/2009

Bethesda, MD -- Eliminating polio everywhere will require global cooperation on several fronts, including lowering the cost for poor countries to vaccinate with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), says a leading global health researcher in the July/August Health Affairs thematic issue on global health.

Eradicating the wild polioviruses was supposed to have been achieved by 2000, but the effort to fight the disease is still ongoing. Polio cases reached an all-time high this century --1,997 cases -- in 2006. In 2008 there were more than 1,600 cases identified in 18 countries. For polio eradication efforts to succeed, countries must focus on several "weak links" to sustain population immunity from the virus, argues Scott Barrett, an economics professor at Columbia University in New York City.

Barrett's paper is one of many articles on global health in the new Health Affairs issue, which is supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Other issue highlights include a discussion of an innovative new international approach to providing affordable antimalarial drugs; an examination of the extent to which people, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are forced to borrow money or sell assets to afford health care; a study of whether donor funding supplements or substitutes for health care spending by governments in developing nations; and a discussion of diplomatic efforts to combat a boycott of polio immunization. A full table of contents follows, and all articles are available to reporters upon request.

Papers Examine Challenges Of Eradicating Polio

Barrett describes the "weakest links" that must be strengthened if the world is to eliminate the spread of polio. Barrett says global health leaders need to focus on the following:

  • Stopping the transmission of the wild polioviruses in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, where war and the resulting upheaval hinde
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Contact: Kay Campbell
kcampbell@burnesscommunications.com
301-652-1558
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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