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Global Polio Eradication: A Campaign to Vaccinate Every Child on the Planet

ory of these challenges in a readable and accessible narrative, clearly showing the scope of the eradication program, the challenges that remain, and the consequences of failure.

One of the challenges he describes is parents who must trust a vaccinator, often a stranger, enough to allow their child to be vaccinated. He writes about planners who map the areas where vaccinations must be provided, health workers who identify where children are being paralyzed, and laboratories that confirm where the polio virus is circulating. He uncovers the process wherein political leaders are engaged, or not, to ensure that eradication activities can proceed, and the traditional and religious leaders who relieve the fears and anxieties of parents as they prepare communities and their inhabitants for vaccination campaigns.

Brookes also points out that at the Pakistan-Afghan border, there are a cluster of problems that may be insurmountable. One is that the border is not heavily patrolled: there is no definitive line and smuggling remains an issue. “It is impossible to prevent weapons or drugs or goods from being smuggled, so one has to wonder how we can prevent a virus, which can hide in the gut, from crossing the border. As a result, the polio virus is endemic on both sides of the border and no one knows which side it is living on. Each side continually reinfects the other. This happened in China when a single infected truck driver crossed the border.”

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