Nigeria moves closer to polio-free status

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Survivors of polio in Kano State, Nigeria, sit on tricycles specially designed for people with disabilities. Photo: UNICEF/Sebastian Rich

Polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria, bringing the country closer to being certified as polio-free, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday.

The highly infectious disease, which is caused by a virus, mostly affects children and can result in paralysis.

Dianne Penn reports.

Nigeria had previously accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, the West African country has not reported a case of wild poliovirus for more than a year.

WHO attributed Nigeria's success to the concerted efforts of the country's government, civil society, religious leaders and health workers.

Thanks to them, more than 45 million children there were immunized.

WHO chief Dr Margaret Chan said "The outstanding commitment and efforts that got Nigeria off the endemic list must continue, to keep Africa polio-free."

Global health efforts over the past two decades have halted polio nearly everywhere, but it remains endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 51″

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