Why Polio Is Difficult to Eliminate

By Amy DiElsi

August 24, 2016

This week as we head closer towards the UN General Assembly, we reflect on some critical conversations that happened earlier this year at Women Deliver. Our series begins today with Women Deliver: We’ve Nearly Eliminated Polio — Here’s Why It Keeps Coming Back.

Since the effort to end polio began in 1988, we’ve seen the number of polio cases drastically decrease from 350,000 in 125 countries to 74 cases in 2 countries. But the progress is fragile because until the disease is stopped, it can creep back into any country.

 “The reason polio is still around is because in endemic countries, there are pockets of children that are still missed due to inaccessibility, insecurity, and even refusals of parents to have their children vaccinated,” explained Joseph Swan, Communications Officer for WHO Polio, in an interview with Global Moms Community Manager Chrysula Winegar. (Related: 3 easy ways you can help defeat measles and polio.)

Watch the full interview with Joseph Swan from the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen.

An exciting new commitment was announced at the conference — timely, given recent cases in Nigeria, a country that was about to be declared polio free. Canada committed $19.9 million to help vaccinate 13 million children in Nigeria and train 150,000 vaccinators to stomp out polio in Nigeria once and for all. 

We are on the brink of eradicating the disease thanks to women around the world who are vaccinating their children and playing all the key positions on the global polio eradication team, from vaccinators within communities, to leaders within the ministries of health.

Take Action Challenge

Every kid deserves a shot at life, one with unlimited mobility. You can help right now. Visit http://blogust.org, a month-long digital dialogue, bringing together many of the most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers, and Shot@Life Champions to change the world through inspirational imagery and storytelling. Every Comment, like, or share through the end of August helps provide a vaccine. More than 25,000 vaccines have already been provided and we can’t stop now!

Related GMC stories: 

[Lead photo by UN Photo/Olivier Chassot]

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