UNICEF official applauds progress in eliminating polio

UNICEF notes progress in eliminating polio
UNICEF notes progress in eliminating polio | Courtesy of
In honor of World Polio Day, a senior official with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) noted the significant progress the health community has made in eliminating polio and further encouraged health professionals in their goal to reach zero polio cases.

This is the first time in history that there have been so few children living in so few countries with polio virus. Despite this encouraging statistic, health professionals have reaffirmed that they will not stop working toward complete polio elimination until it is achieved.

“Progress to end polio is real and dramatic, with now just two countries in the world where the wild poliovirus has never been interrupted: Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Peter Crowley, the head of the Polio Unit at UNICEF, said. “But – and it's a big but – until all children everywhere are consistently and routinely immunized against polio, the threat remains. We cannot let down our guard; we have to keep going until there is not a single child anywhere who remains unvaccinated.”

There are still regions that have polio outbreaks and require vaccination campaigns.

“These outbreaks serve as a reminder of the vital need for intensified efforts to strengthen routine immunization systems and address disparities in children's access to basic health services,” Crowley said. “In Ukraine, for example, fewer than 14 percent of children are immunized against polio.”

The progress that has been made has only served to increase the energy that is spent in striving to reach polio elimination.

“We aim to bring a global halt to polio transmission by this time next year, but the only way to do this is for countries with low vaccination dates to re-double their efforts to reach every child, wherever they are and no matter how hard this may be,” Crowley said.

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