Web Zap*Germs Archive

May 08, 2005

UN to Islamic Nations: Pay for Polio Vaccinations

With polio making a comeback in Western Africa and now spreading to Indonesia and Yemen, the U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO) is asking well-off Islamic nations to pony up funds to wipe out the disease.
The U.N. health agency on Saturday urged wealthy Islamic countries to contribute more to the global campaign to eradicate polio, warning that lack of funds could endanger efforts to wipe out the crippling disease by the end of this year.

The WHO campaign to fight polio has cost $4 billion so far, but states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference have contributed just $3 million, even though recent outbreaks of polio have occurred mostly in Islamic countries, said spokeswoman Linda Muller.

"The time to act is now, we can't afford to wait," Muller told The Associated Press. "That's critical at this point of the initiative, everyone pulling together."

WHO said it is looking to Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to give more money to its polio eradication campaign. None of those countries has contributed funds.

I won't hold my breath waiting for a worldwide cascade of editorials shaming those nations into paying for this project. But I applaud WHO for remembering that the USA is not the only nation the world should look to for humanitarian aid of this kind. And, for not expecting Rotary International to finish the job by itself.


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