Imagine a world with smallpox. Now imagine a world without polio. In 1998, 40 children were infected by polio every hour. In 2016 fewer than 40 children were infected by polio during the entire year.
This is amazing progress, and we are actually poised to eradicate this disease from the face of the earth, such as we did with smallpox. However, every child that has polio poses a threat, and it will take political will and financial commitment to reach the hardest to reach and isolated.
Polio can lead to irreversible paralysis and the immobilization of breathing muscles, which results in the death of five to 10 per cent of individuals who are paralyzed by this disease. It is highly infectious and has no cure. The only way to address polio is through prevention. In 2015, it was assessed that an additional US $1.5 billion would be required to eradicate polio by the turn of the decade.
Canada should take a leadership role and provide an additional pledge of $150 million Cdn. to ensure we finish this job once and for all. I would like to call upon the Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau to help make this happen, as I would like to be a part of the generation that eradicates polio. Wouldn’t you?