Polio has been reduced by 99 percent during the past 26 years thanks to polio eradication efforts reaching a global scale.
In 1988, polio was a leading cause of childhood disability cases. UNICEF now provides 500 million children with the polio vaccine each year.
Studies show that 10 million cases of polio have been prevented through eradication efforts. This means that approximately a thousand children each day are healthy instead of disabled by polio.
“The success of the eradication effort – reaching some of the most disadvantaged communities in some of the most dangerous circumstances - proves that it is possible to reach all children,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said. “Our most ambitious and audacious goals for children can be met. And if they can be, they must be.”
The only remaining countries with high polio rates are Aghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. All other nations have eradicated polio from their populations.
“The world has never been closer to this once-in-a-generation opportunity of eradicating polio for good,” Lake said. “Every child deserves to live in a polio-free world.”
UNICEF actively seeks to convince other countries to accept and use the polio vaccine.