By David Goldstone, philanthropist, polio survivor and co-founder of Rotary of Crawley
Polio is more than 99 per cent eliminated. Thanks to an immense global partnership, the disease is on the verge of being completely wiped out.
Waiting to be vaccinated, outside a village health centre in Afghanistan. Photo: UNICEF/Jeremy Hartley.
Australians should be proud of the role we have played in the epic battle against this disease. This country has had a long history of involvement in the global effort to end polio – reaching all the way back before anyone had any inkling that a vaccine would be found to protect against it.
By Professor Trevor Duke, Director of the Centre for International Child Health, University of Melbourne
An estimated 1.3 to 1.6 million children die each year from pneumonia. According to World Health Organization figures, pneumonia causes 18 per cent of deaths for children from birth to five years old.
There is great optimism that the availability of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) will prevent a large number of these deaths due to pneumococcal pneumonia (and meningitis). The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) suggests that the vaccine will potentially avert more than 650,000 future deaths by 2015.
Dr Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director-General for polio, emergencies and country collaboration, World Health Organization
When I first started working at the World Health Organization in 1992 in Cambodia, Australia was part of a region which still had polio—the western Pacific. Now polio is a forgotten and defeated disease in Australia and most of the world, reduced by 99% since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched in 1988.
In 2012, 223 children were paralyzed by wild poliovirus. Never have there been fewer children paralyzed, in fewer places, by polio. But the job is not done, and this generation may well be the one that finishes it.
By Dr. Astrid Kartika, Senior Program Manager – Health, AusAID Jakarta Post
I have always been amazed whenever I’m on a plane approaching Sentani, the main airport of Papua. From the plane window all I can see is a wonderful landscape, a big lake set among the mountains and surrounded by rain forests which remind me of the land of the Lord of the Rings. On the way to Jayapura the capital of Papua, approximately an hour from the airport, the big lake and the ocean seem to merge. The surrounding greenery and the smile of little Papuans along the road welcome me warmly. The beauty of the island has immediately made me forget about the hassle of the big city where I currently work.
Puskesmas (Community Health Centre) worker in rural Papua providing advice to patient about a medical test. Photo: Astrid Kartika/AusAID
My immediate thought is that the people here must be healthy because the land seems to offer healthy food, the air offers clean unpolluted oxygen, the lake and the ocean are a good source of Omega-3, and the assumed simple lifestyle must surely be less stressful.
By Dr Mark Dybul, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Anyone who makes an investment hopes to see a healthy return.
In the arena of global health, when we talk about value for money, we mean an investment that gets a superior return in preventing and treating infectious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Australia’s government has consistently named its primary concern in global health as effective intervention in the Asia-Pacific region. And the Global Fund has delivered.
Australian taxpayers are investing AUD$100 million in the Global Fund in 2013, and the Global Fund is investing more than AUD$300 million in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the investment world, that’s called “leverage.”