Global plan: Eradicate polio by 2018

Lauran Neergaard / The Asssociated Press /


WASHINGTON — A new global plan aims to end most cases of polio by late next year, and essentially eradicate the paralyzing disease by 2018 — if authorities can raise the $5.5 billion needed to do the work, health officials said Tuesday.

Intense vaccination campaigns have dropped cases to a historic low, a good opportunity for the “endgame” strategy for this paralyzing disease, noted Dr. Rebecca Martin of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have a chance now, with the fewest cases in the fewest places,” she said, joining officials from the World Health Organization, Gates Foundation and Rotary International to discuss the strategy that will be finalized later this month.

Officials acknowledged that financing the six-year plan upfront will be difficult given tight government budgets. The money would cover vaccinations as well as the monitoring required to be sure polio really is gone.