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World Polio Day: Celebrating Big Achievements

October 24, 2014

Thanks to a 26-year effort to eradicate polio, at least 10 million children have been saved from disabilities.

The world is closer than ever to eradicating polio. India was officially declared polio free this year—a major achievement in global public health.

For 26 years, UNICEF and Rotary have worked together to end polio by 2018. More than 10 million volunteers around the world have participated in the campaign against polio, including going door-to-door to make sure that children in even the most remote parts of the world are vaccinated.

That hard work has paid off. Here are a few big achievements we can celebrate this World Polio Day:

  • The annual number of polio cases has been slashed by 99% over the last 25 years.
  • The campaign has prevented 10 million childhood disabilities since 1988.
  • Over the same period, the fight against polio has saved more than 1.5 million lives.

Polio remains endemic in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, places with some of the same challenges that India has eventually overcome. Here's a look at how India won the battle against polio.

Hover over the timeline to click through.

UNICEF buys 1.7 billion doses of oral polio vaccine ever year to reach 500 million children. But to do this, it needs your help.