Health, fitness and Food

The Global Poverty Project Launches Its Global Heroes Campaign To Help Eradicate Polio

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Today The Global Poverty Project (GPP) launched its Global Heroes campaign. The initiative is an innovative, highly personalised and shareable platform in which users create cartoon superhero avatars of themselves on a ‘mission’ to eradicate polio.

The aim of the Global Heroes campaign is to mobilise public awareness and pressure for the UK government to commit the funding needed to finally eradicate the remaining 0.1% of polio cases worldwide. Polio would then become the second ever disease to be completely eradicated. It also seeks to build on the UKs leading role in fight against this deadly disease, which saw an extra 29 million children vaccinated against polio in 2012.

Polio is a highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis and even death. It continues to leave many children across the globe devastated, but can be effectively prevented with immunisation. Fortunately since 1988, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9%- from more than 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 222 in 2012- and is now close to being the second human infectious disease to be permanently eradicated. If support and funding succeeds for the end of polio, we will see the health economics savings upward of $50 billion over the next 20 years.

However, progress is threatened. The situation remains endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, and with a funding gap of US $4.5 billion over the next 5 years, together with the UK Government’s multi-year financial contribution to polio eradication ending last year; vulnerable communities remain at risk. If don’t finish the job, within 10 years we could have 200,000 new case every year globally and increasing among adults – a humanitarian catastrophe.

In response to this global health emergency, GPP together with the GPEI, Rotary International and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation amongst others launched The End of Polio campaign in 2011- calling for increased aid, assistance, and action in the fight against polio.

Michael Sheldrick, GPP Global Policy Manager said:

“This renewed resilience to end polio recently resulted in India, long regarded as the most difficult place to end polio, passing two years free from polio cases in January 2013; Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo finally stopping their re-established transmission, and 2012 representing the year with the fewest recorded cases of polio, in the fewest countries in history.”

Today’s launch of the Global Heroes campaign therefore seeks to build on the progress already made over the past last year, and with less than 1% of cases remaining worldwide, provides a tool for greater community engagement to see a polio-free future. Right now, we have a unique opportunity to use the power of vaccines to wipe out a disease for good.

Stephen Brown, GPP Campaigns Manager said:

“Global Heroes is an innovative user-experience campaign aimed at educating and inspiring  the wider public to help bring an end to polio. With the UK’s reaffirmation to commit 0.7% to overseas assistance, and this year marking the UK Presidency of the G8, 2013 provides the ideal political platform to enact real change, and to finally resign polio to the history books. We urge the UK government to make another multi-year commitment to help us finally rid the world of polio”.

THE GLOBAL POVERTY PROJECT:

The Global Heroes campaign (http://globalheroes.theendofpolio.com) and The End of Polio campaign (www.globalheroes.theendofpolio.com) are initiatives of the Global Poverty Project– an international education and advocacy organisation working to catalyse the movement to end extreme poverty. An Australian-grown project, the Global Poverty Project creates campaigns with the purpose to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty, with the vision of a world without extreme poverty, within a generation. Join the conversation on Facebook, follow @TheGPP on Twitter and visit: www.globalpovertyproject.com

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