Ridding the world of polio

Ridding the world of polio

The global fight to rid the world of polio, the largest public health programme in history, is said to be in its final stages.

A child receives the polio vaccine

Polio has been eradicated in most parts of the world

However, it has taken 20 years and $6bn and it is still with us.

Is eradication possible? Is it worth the enormous cost?

Newshour brought together public health experts with very different opinions to debate the issue.

Dr Bruce Aylward is director of the polio eradication programme of the World Health Organisation and Dr D.A. Henderson of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center led the WHO's successful effort to eradicate smallpox.

Newshour also heard from Nigeria, one of the countries where the polio virus still thrives and from Gautam Lewis, a British polio campaigner who suffered from polio as a young child in India.

Listen Listen to the debate (23 mins 29 secs)

First broadcast 21 February 2009

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