WHO: Polio eradication still on track

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A young child receives polio drops in Pakistan

Global efforts to eradicate polio remain on track although the disease remains endemic in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This year 171 cases of polio have been reported worldwide, with three countries jointly reporting 166 cases.

WHO is supporting the implementation of national polio emergency action plans to vaccinate all children under five years of age in the three countries where polio remains endemic.

Oliver Rosenbauer from WHO says interrupting the spread of the virus in the three countries is critical to the eradication of polio.

"It's technically feasible to eradicate polio. There is no reason why. We have all the necessary tools to eradicate this disease. So now there is the question of political and societal will to make sure that the emergency plans are fully implemented and that they are full financed. We have seen time and time again that this is a virus which spreads to polio free areas and cases devastating outbreaks. If we don’t finish the job now we could see within the next decade 200,000 new cases every single year all over the world. Given that we are under two hundred cases now we consider this a true humanitarian catastrophy that has to be averted at all costs."

Polio has no cure but can be prevented through vaccination which offer lifetime protection.

Duration 41"

 

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