Goal to banish polio by 2012 might not be achieved
A global project which is aiming to rid the world of the polio disease is looking like it will be unsuccessful.
Members of the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have warned that the mission is going “off track”, after the disease has resurfaced in a number of countries.
They have blamed this almost certain failure on a lack of funding and complications in national vaccination campaigns.
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This will be the third target to be missed since the project’s inception in 1988, which costs approximately US$1 billion a year to run.
Funding required for the 2011-12 campaign totals $2 billion, but only two-thirds of this amount has been received in pledges.
It is estimated that $8 billion has been lost so far during the efforts.
Two endemic countries of Afghanistan and India have been praised for their efforts in fighting the disease; with the latter having had just one reported case of polio in the first half of this year.
However, concerns have been raised over the progress in Pakistan, as the report states the country “risks becoming the last global outpost of this vicious disease.”
Nigeria is also still struggling to take control of the virus, as is Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Polio is a very resilient disease,” said Sir Liam Donaldosn, the chair of the Initiative.
“There was a big impact in tackling it in the first two decades since the goal, but we still have this very big rump of cases left behind.”
He added: “Tackling the remaining 1 percent of polio is the greatest challenge yet.”
Donaldson continues: “Fourteen countries have had polio outbreaks since the start of 2010.”
“It is alarming and bad for the programme's morale that there are still these surprises, but polio eradication is still possible in the near-term if there is enhanced political commitment, secure funding and strengthened technical capacity.”
However, the project has seen largely successful results. When the effort began there were 125 endemic countries with 350,000 polio cases each year, but by 2000 this has been reduced to six endemic countries with an estimated 1,000 reported cases annually.
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!