Canada should help end disease

A letter to the editor of the 100 Mile Free Press by Connie Lebeau.

To the editor:

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 who has polio poses a threat, and it will take political will and financial commitment to reach the most isolated. Polio can lead to irreversible paralysis and the immobilization of breathing muscles, which results in the death of 5 – 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 $1.5 billion US 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 CAD to ensure we finish this job once and for all. I would like to call upon the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie to help make this happen, as I would like to be a part of the generation that eradicates polio. Wouldn’t you?

Connie Lebeau