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Monday, 3 June 2013
Page: 4930

Polio Eradication

Debate resumed on the motion by Ms Parke:

That this House:

(1) commends the Government for its four year commitment to provide $50 million to support the global eradication of polio;

(2) notes:

(a) that in February 2012, India was removed from the list of countries where polio remains endemic, proving that eradication strategies are effective when they are fully implemented and that polio can be eradicated even in the toughest circumstances, and there has not been a single reported case of polio in India since January 2011;

(b) that polio eradication should, wherever possible, be part of routine immunisation efforts to improve population immunity for all priority, vaccine preventable childhood illnesses;

(c) that there are now only three countries in the world where polio has never been stopped, namely Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, and unless the polio program is fully funded and emergency plans are implemented as planned, polio could make a comeback in countries that are currently polio-free;

(d) estimates show that global re-infection over time could result in as many as 200,000 children per year being paralysed;

(e) that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative currently faces a funding shortfall of US$945 million for the full implementation of its 2012 13 Emergency Action Plan, and this has caused immunisation campaigns to be cancelled or scaled back in 33 countries in Africa and Asia, leaving more children vulnerable to the disease and increasing the risk of the international spread of polio; and

(f) the recent landmark resolution by the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly declaring the completion of polio eradication, a programmatic emergency for global public health, with member states highlighting the feasibility of eradication in the near-term, while expressing concern at the ongoing funding gap threatening success; and

(3) encourages the Government to continue to support efforts to deliver a polio-free world and to encourage other countries to do likewise.