UNICEF and Its Partners Can Eradicate Polio
Since the inception of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, the number of annual polio cases has dropped dramatically—from 350,000 to 1,606 cases in 2009. That's nearly a 100% reduction.
Much work remains to ensure that this progress is permanent. Polio is a crippling and sometimes fatal illness that strikes children, particularly those under the age of 5. There is no cure, but there is a safe and effective vaccine. Childhood immunization is the key to eradication.
Polio is still active:
- in 3 endemic countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan;
- and in 15 other re-infected countries.
- In Central Africa, an unusually deadly strain reemerged in the Republic of Congo and spread to its neighbors.
- In war-torn Ivory Coast UNICEF is readying an emergency polio campaign in response to a fresh outbreak caused by disruptions in vaccination rounds.
- Last year an outbreak in previously polio-free Tajikistan accounted for over 62% of new polio cases.
But everywhere polio remains a threat, UNICEF and its partners offer hope: the Tajikistan outbreak was met with a massive cross-border response with almost 10.3 million doses of oral polio vaccine procured and distributed by UNICEF; in Africa, the ongoing campaign spans 15 countries to reach 72 million children.
In 2010, UNICEF helped vaccinate 1 billion children against polio.
Grant from Google to Help Close Funding Gap
A generous grant from Google will help sustain UNICEF's polio eradication program in 2011. The $4 million gift will be critical to UNICEF's efforts to ensure security in the vaccine supply and to stamp out the last vestiges of polio. These resources will empower UNICEF staff to reach the children who are in greatest need and the hardest to reach.
The U.S Fund for UNICEF seeks to leverage Google's gift to challenge UNICEF's friends and supporters to join us in this final push to rid the world of polio.
Will you help us achieve a day when ZERO children suffer from polio? Donate today to support UNICEF's efforts to eradicate polio.
Recent News on UNICEF's Fight Against Polio
October 24, 2012
World Polio Day is a stirring reminder of all that we have achieved together in the fight against polio. There is much to celebrate. Fewer children than ever before suffer the debilitating effects of this cruel disease. For the first time in its history, this year, India was declared polio free. We can see before us the finish line: the eradication of polio. But World Polio Day is also a sobering reminder that, as in many long distance races, the last mile is the hardest one.
August 14, 2012
Angola is celebrating one year free of polio. This is a major milestone for a country which had originally defeated polio in 2001 but has suffered repeated re-importations since 2005. Through polio campaigns in 2012, the number of children not vaccinated in the Uige province has dropped to 3% (from 10% in 2011). In the country’s capital Luanda, however, reaching every child in its maze of settlements is a challenge. To address this issue, A UNICEF-supported program trains community leaders to monitor the health of families in their areas.
June 27, 2012
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the cold chain—the proper refrigerated storage and transportation of vaccines—is essential for eradicating polio. But the poor infrastructure means there is often a lack of electricity for cold storage, and long transport over difficult terrain makes the storing of vaccines during transport difficult. This absence of functioning cold chains puts hundreds of thousands of children at risk of deadly but preventable diseases like polio. Cold chains must be improved for polio to be eradicated in DRC.