Professor Brendan Crabb AC with dignitaries at the Parliament House event.
Burnet Institute Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb AC has joined other eminent Australians at Parliament House in Canberra to call for an end to polio.
Young Australian of the Year Akram Azimi, Rotary International President-nominee, Ian Riseley and Professor Crabb marked World Polio Day by asking the Federal Government to renew support for polio eradication.
Professor Crabb said the eradication of smallpox is likely mankind’s greatest technical achievement and remains the only human disease eliminated from the planet.
“We are now on the verge of doing the same with polio, a terrible disease that only a generation or two ago dogged tens of millions people around the world, including many thousands here in Australia,” he said.
“The health and economic gains of eradication are gigantic, once achieved not a single case will be seen, nor a dollar spent - ever. The world must not let this golden opportunity slip, and Australia must continue to pull its weight."
The Federal Government recently announced that it would reduce funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the partnership that leads eradication efforts worldwide, by 25 per cent this year.
This year, the world has made incredible progress in ending polio with Nigeria going a year without a single reported case of polio. In 2015, polio cases worldwide have dropped by two thirds compared to this time last year.
However, polio remains endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Organisers of today’s event at Parliament House are asking Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to participate in a special high-level meeting on polio eradication during next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.