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Global Polio Eradication Efforts Unlikely To Meet 2012 Goal, Health Experts Say

An independent group of health experts, formed last year at the request of the WHO, on Wednesday warned that the world is not on track to eradicate polio by the end of 2012, the Associated Press reports.

The group “said in a new report released Wednesday that it was ‘unshakable’ in its view that the global effort to stop polio by the end of next year is at risk. Two previous eradication targets have already been missed and the effort costs about $1 billion every year,” the news service writes. “Unless some hard messages are given with no holds barred, progress will not be made,” said Sir Liam Donaldson, the group’s chair. Eradication is still possible, but major changes are needed, he said, according to the news agency (7/20).

In related news, UNICEF on Tuesday said several new polio cases in Northern Nigeria are threatening to erase efforts to eradicate the disease in that country, Agence France-Presse reports. “Polio cases in Nigeria dropped to 21 in 2010 from a staggering 338 cases in 2009,” AFP notes. However, according to Jacques Boyer, deputy head of UNICEF in Nigeria, 20 cases of polio have been reported in six northern states this year (7/19).

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