The United States Should Take a Proactive Stance on Polio Eradication Legacy Planning

The U.S. government is a staunch supporter of the ongoing global effort to eradicate polio. It has contributed more than $2 billion to the cause, providing invaluable resources for vaccine purchases, communications, and social mobilization. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development have provided funding and technical assistance for everything from program management to disease surveillance and response to laboratory strengthening. While eradication remains elusive—with Pakistan now producing the bulk of the disease—solid support from the United States has helped the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reduce the number of reported polio cases worldwide by more than 99 percent. Given its significant support for the polio program and the potential for polio resources to contribute to other global health priorities, the U.S. government should actively champion polio “legacy planning” over the next several years.

Nellie Bristol
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Global Health Policy Center