Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fourth and goal, 10 seconds on the clock, down by 6

Early this year I did one of those Friday hope blogging posts on good news we could hope for in 2006. One item on the list was the eradication of polio. Not to be, at least not this year, but it might still happen.

The campaign went off the rails in 2003 when Muslim leaders in part of Nigeria denounced it as a plot to sterilize Muslim women. (Sigh.) World Health Organization leaders thought they had contained the problem to the affected region but alas, the virus leaked out and surfaced elsewhere. It's also been impossible to immunize all the children in the strife-ridden Afghanistan/Pakistan border region, and the campaign has been poorly run in parts of India. It will be a Major Bummer if WHO can't clean this up and finally eradicate polio -- we'll have to start immunizing children worldwide again, at great cost, and those who do become infected risk paralysis and life-long disability as well as death. So let's all vote for putting in the money and diplomacy needed to finish the job.

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