James Piecowye thinking out loud

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Polio gone by 2020, we hope

Posted on | February 11, 2017 | No Comments

Polio, this is something that I have not been thinking about at all but there is good reason to be thinking about it.

The good news is we are very close to being able to say polio is a thing of the past.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Mayer of the World Health Organization for a chat about polio and I was amazed by the progress that has been made.

Who is Chris Mayer?


Chris Maher is a Manager of the World Health Organisation (WHO) polio eradication efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean. Chris has worked in the public health sector for the past three decades and specifically in polio eradication for 21 years. He joined WHO in 1993 working on immunization. He spent the first eight years working in the Western Pacific Region, based in Manila, and his position had him covering over 30 countries. Chris has been involved in polio eradication at every level from organizing local vaccination campaigns, investigating cases of paralysis, through to running the technical elements of the global programme. Since 2000, he has led operations for polio eradication across Asia, Africa and Europe. And Chris is joining us in Studio, welcome to Nightline.

What is also very interesting is the role the UAE is playing in eradicating polio.


The UAE has provided essential support to immunization efforts in Pakistan over the last decade as part of a continuing collaboration with partners of the polio eradication initiative. In 2011, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced they were working together to provide life-saving vaccinations to children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These efforts continue as the UAE has launched a massive campaign in March 2016 to vaccinate 10.6 million children against polio in Pakistan, as part of the Project to Assist Pakistan, UAE PAP.

Listen to the podcast of the conversation.





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