Earth is almost Polio-free, but the disease still exists in some areas of the world, announced U.S. health officials on Monday. “We will get to a day when Polio is history,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden during a media briefing. The CDC is one of the five groups that make up the Global Polio Eradication Initiative; the other four are Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Finally eradicating the disease is going to cost $1.5 billion, said John Germ, president of rotary International, during the briefing. It’ll also require conquering big obstacles, like vaccinating children in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, where vaccination workers are being killed by extremists who do not believe in vaccinations or who are distrustful of the workers.
“If we don’t get the funding, Polio is going to spread again, and it’s going to cost us billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives a year for the children that we must protect against this virus,” Germ said. “It can cost us a dream of a Polio-free world.”