Global Community Observes World Polio Day

“As the global community marks World Polio Day on Thursday, recent events show there is both cause for celebration and concern,” AllAfrica reports. “There have been 296 cases of polio caused by the ‘wild type’ virus so far this year, compared to 171 cases during the same period last year, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership spearheaded by the [WHO],” the news service writes (Shiner, 10/24). “Wild poliovirus (WPV) cases in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan — the last three endemic countries — are down 40 percent compared to this time last year,” the Global Polio Eradication Initiative notes in an article on its webpage, adding, “At the same time, however, the urgency of interrupting transmission in these countries is only reinforced by the tapering outbreak in the Horn of Africa and this week’s reports of two suspected polio cases in Syria.” The article highlights a special Livestream event, “World Polio Day: Making History,” presented by Rotary and Northwestern University’s Center for Global Health, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday (10/24).

Marking the day, the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog reports on India’s progress toward eradicating the disease, noting the country “is just four months away from being declared polio free by the [WHO]” (Thacker, 10/24). In related news, VOA News examines the polio response in Pakistan, where “a Taliban ban on vaccinations and attacks on health workers” are hindering vaccination efforts (Behn, 10/23). In a separate article, VOA highlights the launch of “an emergency campaign to vaccinate 700,000 children under the age of 15 in [South Sudan’s] Equatoria state against polio by the end of the week after a child in the state was diagnosed” with the disease last month (10/23). PANA/AfriqueJet examines polio vaccination efforts in Cote d’Ivoire, noting “[m]ore than 7.5 million Ivorian children, aged 0-5 years, will be vaccinated against polio when the third round of the nation’s national immunization program begins on Friday, according to health officials” (10/24).

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