July 2nd, 2007 | Published in Google.org
Last fall our team spent time talking with philanthropies and other organizations with long histories of successful interventions in the field of global public health. Considering many ideas, we talked about what it will take to finally eradicate polio in the developing world, and the role that philanthropy can play. Many of our parents remember what it was like to have polio in this country, and a few people in the States still reside in iron lungs. These generations are advancing, and it's important that we not forget how horrible the crippling of polio can be to those who are at risk today.
The community of nations, health workers and funders have come very close to wiping polio off the map: in 1988 over 350,000 cases of polio were reported; last year that number had declined to approximately 2,000 reported cases, afflicting mostly children under age 3 in just a few countries — India, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Several donor organizations have been raising funds for polio eradication for decades, such as the Rotarians who have raised and given more than $600 million for polio eradication. Although the finish line is in sight, the global effort needs all of our support to reach the end goal.
Along with other efforts here, google.org is funding a documentary film with Vermilion Films Founder, and Emmy and 2007 Sundance award winner Irene Taylor Brodsky, to tell the story of the public health heroes on the front lines of polio vaccination and eradication. We're hopeful this film will re-energize the group of dedicated donors and health workers to bring this campaign over the finish line. Throughout the project, Irene will share a few stories from the field.
And yes, welcome to the google.org blog. We are fortunate to be able to occasionally post to the Official Google Blog, and today we're starting a blog of our own. We'll invite posts by our team members and other Googlers about what they're working on, and by our grantees and partners on ideas and insights they want to share with all of you. We hope to include some of their reports and updates, as well as thoughts shared by guest bloggers.