28 years in the making and Africa is only a year away from being officially declared Polio free! After reading some of the statistics I am utterly shocked at how bad things were but amazed at the results now!
Polio is a disease that affects children mainly under the age of 5, leaving many of them paralyzed for life or in other cases, causing 1 in every ten children to die of breathing difficulties.
Back in 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication initiative was formed it was said that about 350,000 children were getting infected with wild polio virus every year all across the world.
However, thanks to vaccinations and medical support and breakthroughs many counties have been declared Polio free, with Africa almost being on that list. The declaration is based on two years of the country having no reports of wild polio diagnosis and for Africa, the last case of wild polio diagnosis was in the Puntland region of Somalia, on 11 August 2014. Meaning they have one year to go of having no new cases to be declared polio-free.
Here is some figures for you now that I feel you may appreciate:
- Number of countries that were classed as polio-endemic in 1988 =125
- Number of countries that were classed as polio-endemic TODAY = 2 (Afghanistan and Pakistan)
If you wish to read the full article and where I got my information from then please, click here to visit the BBC news story. I will end my post here the same way the BBC ended their article:
“Only two diseases have ever been eradicated in the world: Smallpox and rinderpest. Campaigners hope polio will be the third.”
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