Anyone coming through the frightening polio epidemic of the early 20th century appreciates the mass immunization campaign following the disease’s alarming eruption near war-torn Syria. The UN and the World Health Organization aim to vaccinate 20 million children in order to prevent further spread of this treatable, crippling disease. Polio was considered eliminated in the Western Hemisphere as recently as 1994 and vaccination is still recommended worldwide due to the risk of importing the disease. Increased vigilance of polio as well as tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS remain high on the international agenda. These are all treatable diseases and fortunately a powerful, life-saving partnership, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is expanding our ability to fight and eventually eliminate them.
This is not the time to slow the momentum in this race for cures. Our nation has taken a leading role in this campaign by hosting the December meeting of donor countries for the Global Fund’s Fourth Replenishment. We can maintain the momentum because for each $1 the U.S. commits to the Global Fund, $2 is leveraged from other donor nations. The UK has boldly stepped up, committing $1.6 billion. Now the U.S. must pledge $5 billion. Continued leadership at this moment is significantly vital and wise. Make your leaders in Washington, D.C., aware of this critical opportunity for U.S. leadership and bold pledge.