World Polio Day, Oct 24: ‘Any number more than zero is too much’

A slightly revised version of my article in The News on Sunday on Oct. 23, 2016, posted here with additional links and photos. The world watches as the last three polio endemic countries strive to relegate the crippling virus to history

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Polio survivors Ramesh Ferris and Minda Dentler share their experiences – and dreams about a polio-free world. Photos: Beena Sarwar

“In 1955 Dr Jonas Salk invented the preventive vaccine. It is outrageous that 25 years later I contracted polio,” says author and global health advocate Ramesh Ferris.

Standing on his good leg, a crutch compensating for the paralysed one in braces, eyes gleaming behind black-rimmed glasses, Ferris passionately addresses the audience of about a hundred physicians, scientists and international diplomats. They include representatives from the world’s three remaining polio endemic countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. Continue reading

India, Pakistan: Cross-border cooperation against polio. “Failure is not an option”

‘Bowl out polio’: Pakistani cricketers Younis Khan and Imran Farhat give polio drops to a child at a UNICEF event in New Delhi, Jan 2013. Photo: PTI

‘Bowl out polio’: Pakistani cricketers Younis Khan and Imran Farhat give polio drops to a child at a UNICEF event in New Delhi, Jan 2013. Photo: PTI

Here’s something I wrote for Aman ki Asha recently, published in the June 5, 2013 edition:

India and Pakistan are working together against a common enemy. Pakistan’s new government must take up the baton

By Beena Sarwar

Over the past year, Pakistan has been studying how India dramatically eradicated polio, with the World Health Organisation striking it off its list of polio endemic countries in February 2012; the last case was recorded in January 2011. Continue reading

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