Opinion: We know what it’s like to live in fear of polio. We also know how to stop it

Polio, a dangerous and even deadly infectious disease, is a distant memory for many global citizens. We have never known life without it.

Despite growing up in two countries — Pakistan (Z.B.) and Cameroon (R.L.) — separated by 7,000 kilometers, we both know what it is like to live and work in communities plagued by polio. As a physician, one of us (Z.B.) has sat beside countless parents as they come to terms with the life-long disability, and sometimes even death, of their child. As a researcher, the other (R.L.) has met with numerous affected families who are struggling with the financial and emotional burden of their new reality. We have both seen far too many children paralyzed by this awful virus and are often reminded of it by crippled adults.

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