UN Talk Radio Day: Dennis King


Continuing UN Talk Radio Day coverage…

As Alan and Kerri are setting up in the corner, Greenfield has got Susan Myers, Executive Director of the UN Foundation’s New York office, on the hook, and Joe Madison is talking to Dennis King, Senior Technical Advisor on Polio Eradication at UNICEF, which has, in partnership with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, reduced the occurrence of polio worldwide by 99 percent. In fact, only four polio endemic countries remain — Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and India. Considering that the Initiative has the tools to completely eradicate polio (like the UN did with smallpox in 1977), Madison wanted to know what needs to be done now. King responded that it “needs to be an issue that [local authorities] want to solve.” He continued to say that the virus has been isolated to “very discrete geological and cultural pockets” with “high illiteracy rates” and a populace that is “suspicious of outside initiatives.” Some have suggested that this is fueled by the anti-Western sentiments of some radical imams. The four remaining endemic countries have tough-to-reach pockets of Muslim populations.