Paul Martin was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada.
Last Wednesday marked World Polio Day, an opportunity for the global community to reflect on where we stand against polio. We have much to be proud of. Today, we’re closer than ever to reaching the historic goal of polio eradication – but there’s still more work to be done.
Like my father before me I contracted polio when I was very young. I was lucky enough to fully recover, but I will never forget the polio ward and my fear as I slowly became aware of what could happen to those of us who found ourselves there.
In 1988, when the polio eradication movement truly came together with the founding of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there were 350,000 cases in more than 125 countries every year. So far this year, we’ve seen just 171 cases, and only Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria have never stopped transmission. India, which was always thought to be the hardest place to eliminate polio, made an enormous political and financial investment in its program and hasn’t seen a case in almost two years.