Eradication is within reach.
Thanks to the efforts of UNICEF and partners, polio has almost — but not quite — disappeared. In 2018, there were 33 cases reported in Pakistan and Afghanistan — down from 350,000 in 1988.
The final year of the 2013-2018 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan saw Nigerian maintain its 'zero wild polio virus (WPV) status' for the second consecutive year, and Madagascar was certified WPV free. Afghanistan and Pakistan recorded 21 and 12 WPV cases, respectively, up from 14 and 8 cases in 2017.
Children under 5 are particularly vulnerable to this highly infectious, crippling and sometimes fatal disease. And polio is known to resurface in countries in conflict, where health systems are disrupted, allowing routine immunizations to lapse. Continued support for vaccinations remains vital.
Women are critical in the fight against polio. From reaching every child with polio vaccines to ensuring their children receive the protection they deserve, women are at the heart of polio eradication efforts.