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Feb 1, 2017

There is so much good news around that we often don't hear. Very soon, for only the second time in history, a human infectious disease will be eradicated: Polio. I remember receiving my oral vaccination for this disease when I was in secondary school, but, at the time, I had no idea what it was, nor(1) had I ever been around anyone who had suffered from it's symptoms. Being infected with this disease at a young age can result in paralysis, and it is also highly contagious. However, without most of us knowing, 155 countries have been working together in a monumental effort(2) to vaccinate all children. They have done such a good job that over the past 30 years, the cases have dropped 99.9%, with the actual number last year being about 40. There is a risk of recontamination, however, if some children are not immunized and left undetected in rural communities. Therefore, the World Health Organization, Rotary International, Unicef, and their partners have mobilized an army of volunteers, supervisors, laboratory workers, and surveillance experts, to stamp out this disease once and for all. All children must be vaccinated as soon as possible by taking a liquid orally, starting at two months of age, and having a total of four doses at different times. The vaccination has changed from three strains of the virus to two, as one has already been eradicated. Here in the U.S, every dollar spent on vaccinations saves three dollars in direct healthcare, and ten dollars in societal(3) costs. You can imagine how this can multiply! The billions of dollars in savings each year are mainly experienced by low-income countries. And that means money can be spent on other areas of preventative healthcare, or better infrastructure. It should be this year that we will hear on the news the announcement about the eradication of Polio. And when it happens, we will need to celebrate. One of the great legacies of this movement is that after each unvaccinated child has been vaccinated, the structure will be in place to continue vaccinating new children each year. What a collaborative effort! If you wish to donate, or read about the End Polio Now movement, simply click here.

1. 'Nor' can be used by itself (without 'neither') if you are continuing with a second sentence and speaking negatively in some way.

a. I didn't wake up until noon. Nor did I have energy to get  out of bed!

b. They didn't attend the history lectures; nor did they turn up for the field trip!

2. 'Monumental' and 'effort' go really well together in English, with 'monumental' being one of the expressions of a large size that is impressive or even historical. It is also a great word for insults and exaggeration.

a. Taking care of all the refugees will be a monumental effort that must be shared by many.

b. I made a monumental mistake when I called my ex-boyfriend's mother, instead of my own!

c. We could have a decent conversation if he wasn't so monumentally silly.

3. 'Societal' is an adjective which means 'of society'.

a. Many future societal problems can be prevented in elementary schools.

b. There is a lot of societal pressure to be rich.

Try iTalki to improve your pronunciation and fluency!