4-year-old Aziza receives a dose of oral polio vaccine from Lady Health Worker Gul Bano, in flood-affected Sono Solangi Village in Kharpur District in Sindh Province. (Pakistan 2012)

Eradication is within reach.

Thanks to UNICEF and partners' global immunization and vaccine efforts, polio has almost—but not quite—disappeared. In 1988 there were 350,000 cases; in 2012, only 223. In 2014, India joined the ranks of the polio-free, a major achievement thanks to lifesaving polio vaccines. And in 2015, Nigeria was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries—moving African a huge step closer to polio-free status.

But the highly-infectious, crippling and often fatal disease, to which children under 5 are particularly vulnerable, remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is known to resurface in countries in conflict, where health systems are disrupted. Continued support for vaccinations, including polio vaccines, remains vital.

Fast Fact