SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Global effort to eliminate polio reaches milestones

Polio elimination reaches milestones | Courtesy of wikipedia.org
Ellyn Ogden, the worldwide polio eradication coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the senior technical adviser for health and child survival, recently held a question-and-answer session about the milestones that have been reached in polio elimination.

Global efforts that started in 1988 to eradicate polio have made significant progress. It has eliminated 99 percent of polio cases, which means that what were previously 350,000 polio cases each year now stands at a few dozen cases for 2015. 

“July 24 marks one year since the last reported case of wild polio in Nigeria," Ogden said. "This is a significant milestone in the largest country in Africa and, historically, the main virus reservoir responsible for repeated outbreaks across the world. Just three years ago, Nigeria seemed to be losing the battle against polio and recorded more than half of all global cases. I want to congratulate and thank the legions of volunteers, health workers, community leaders, mobilizers, lab staff, religious and traditional leaders, and the millions of others who contributed to this Herculean effort to reach every child, multiple times with polio vaccine.”

Experts have estimated that 10 million children around the world have been spared lifelong paralysis because of the movement.

“But Wild Polio Virus has been known to circulate silently for more than three years so it is far too soon for Nigeria to be complacent,” Ogden said. “The risk of undetected transmission remains in Nigeria and other vulnerable areas in and around conflict zones of Africa.”

Organizations in this story

U.S. Agency for International Development 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20004

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