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Cross-posted from with thanks! I wanted to let you know about an exciting new polio initiative announced last week. In a display of support for the new Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, more than 400 scientists and technical experts from 80 countries issued the Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication. The declaration strongly endorses the new Strategic Plan, which offers a comprehensive roadmap to a lasting polio-free world by pursuing in parallel all of the steps needed to reach eradication. The declaration, led by Drs. Zulfiqar Bhutta of Aga Khan University and Walt Orenstein of Emory University, features signatories from across the world, including: --Six Nobel Laureates --More than 30 deans and directors of leading publichealth schools --Many of the heroes of the smallpox eradication effort, including Ciro de Quadros, Bill Foege and David Heymann --All members of polio's Independent Monitoring Board The declaration has received positive international media coverage. Highlights include articles in the Independent (UK),, The Hindu (India) and Voice of America. Leading signatories also penned a series of opinion pieces explaining why support for the Strategic Plan is so crucial now. These included: --Peter Piot in the Guardian Global Development Blog --Ciro de Quadros in the Huffington Post --Jacob John in the Wall Street Journal India Real Time Blog --Zulfiqar Bhutta and Walt Orenstein in Vaccine (publication pending) --Reinhard Burger and Sabine Diedrich in the Ärzteblatt and the Ärztezeitung (publication pending) Please share these stories on your social media and other networks, using the hashtag #endpolio on Twitter. The declaration makes clear that eradication, though possible, will not be easy. It calls on every sector of the global health community -- donor and endemic governments, civil society, companies and others -- to take the steps necessary, including upfront commitments for full funding, to implement the plan (click here for a Lancet article on the plan). Leaders from all of these groups will convene in Abu Dhabi next week for the Global Vaccine Summit to discuss how to pursue eradication in a way that not only ends polio, but uses the lessons and tools of eradication to build systems that can be used for other vaccine-preventable diseases and improve child health more broadly. In the lead-up to the Summit, a number of high-profile global leaders will be writing op-eds about the critical need to protect every child's right to live a healthy life, free from preventable diseases. These pieces, from such authors as Bill Gates, Ban Ki-moon and Desmond Tutu, will run in a series on Project Syndicate starting April 18. Please share these pieces with your networks as they appear. In the words of the declaration: "Polio eradication can be our generation's legacy to all future generations. Only working together can we make history and end polio." Thank you for all you have done to bring us closer to that goal, and we look forward to seeing that dream realized together. Best, David Gold Principal, Global Health Strategies POLIO CASES THIS YEAR -- Globally, there have been 18* new cases reported so far in 2013, compared to 41 cases at this time last year. -- In Afghanistan, there has been 1* new case reported so far in 2013, compared to 6 cases at this time last year. -- In Nigeria, there have been 11* new cases reported so far in 2013, compared to 17 cases at this time last year. -- In Pakistan, there have been 6* new cases reported so far in 2013, compared to 15 cases at this time last year. *As of April 9, 2013

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