Rotary Club of Tacoma No. 8

Nigeria Declared Polio Free!

 
 
ARTICLE IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The September 25 Wall Street Journal had an article declaring that Nigeria has successfully stopped transmission of polio in the country, the World Health Organization said Friday, a milestone in a longstanding push to eradicate the disease globally. 
 
Nigeria’s success leaves just two countries—Pakistan and Afghanistan—where transmission of wild poliovirus, the cause of most cases of polio, has never been stopped.
But eliminating the virus from those two countries is enormously challenging, and leaders of the polio eradication effort said Friday that they had pushed back their goal for global eradication by one year, to 2019, and would need to raise $1.5 billion to meet it.
 
Just three years ago, Nigeria looked like the last place that would eliminate polio, a highly infectious and potentially fatal disease that invades the nervous system and paralyzed 1,000 children a day as late as the 1980s.
 
Africa’s most populous country recorded more than half of all of the polio cases world-wide in 2012, and polio regularly spilled over its borders. Over nearly a decade, it was the source of cases or outbreaks in 25 countries that had already been declared polio-free.
 
But pressure from international leaders of the polio-eradication movement led Nigeria’s government to intensify its efforts.
 
The government, working with international organizations and local leaders, sent more than 200,000 vaccinators to immunize more than 45 million children under 5 years old, used new Global Positioning System mapping technologies to track down children who hadn’t been immunized, and opened emergency-operations centers to manage vaccination campaigns. 

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