Where We Stand

After studying the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and Pakistan, we believe that structural health interventions will have larger and more sustained impacts on global health inequities. Doctor Paul Farmer said that “the poorest parts of the world are by and large the places in which one can best view the worst of medicine and not because doctors in these countries have different ideas about what constitutes modern medicine. It’s the system and its limitations that are to blame” (Brainy Quote 2012). We believe it is the system and its limitations that will also be the solutions to all types of global diseases.

The polio eradication initiative will save millions of lives and billions of dollars but will not address larger structural issues such as the uneven distribution of global power, unequal access to resources, resource exploitation in many low-income countries, classism, racism, ageism, and sexism that contribute to the spread of polio as well as hundreds of other diseases and illnesses. Paul Farmer (2009) argues that “a social justice approach should be central to medicine and utilized to to be central to public health.” The social justice approach he refers to contains the core belief that healthcare is a human right and attacks poverty to provide all with adequate healthcare.

All that being said, we think the Global Polio Eradication Initiative must not abandon its goal of eradicating polio worldwide. Since only three countries still report cases of the wild poliovirus, the Initiative is close enough to realize its goal of complete eradication to save millions of lives. If the project is abandoned now, polio will be able to  spread around the world and reinfect millions of people with the Eradication Initiative being as close as it is, deserting the project should not be considered an option.