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Journey to a Polio-Free World: Africa's Extraordinary Achievement
UPDATE 7/24: Nigeria marks two years without a single case of wild polio - a major step toward a polio-free world!
In 1988, UNICEF joined the Global Polio Eradication Initiative along with Rotary International and other partners, launching a campaign to rid the world of polio. At the time, the highly-infectious disease was at a peak, crippling more than 350,000 children in 125 countries annually.
Today, polio does not exist in most of the world, thanks to this historic collective effort. Cases are down by 99.9% worldwide. Just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have reported cases of wild polio so far this year, while on July 24, 2015, Nigeria, Africa's last remaining polio-endemic country, recorded the first year in history without a single case.
We're this close to ending polio forever, and we must finish the job with the same leadership, commitment and generosity that got us this far. Continued support from governments, communities and private individuals will be critical during these next and final stages of eradication. Vaccination efforts must be intensified, particularly among children in remote or conflict-torn areas. Routine immunizations must be strengthened. Disparities in children’s access to basic health care services must be addressed.
We will not stop until polio is no longer a threat to any child, anywhere. On World Polio Day, join Rotary and UNICEF in celebrating the progress we’ve made.