Nigeria’s Polio Success Gives Hope To Global Polio Eradication Efforts

Project Syndicate: Polio’s Last Stand
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Muhammad Pate, professor at Duke University’s Global Health Institute

“…Nigeria’s success [of achieving a year without a new case of wild polio] shows that it is possible to bring the miracles of modern medicine to the world’s most marginalized and hard-to-reach children. … Nigeria’s success in reaching these children is the result of the efforts of thousands of dedicated local volunteers, some of whom lost their lives in the process. Since 2012, there has been nearly a fivefold increase in the number of volunteers involved in mobilizing communities during immunization campaigns. … So far, in 2015, only 34 cases of polio have been documented worldwide — the majority of them in Pakistan. There is now a very real prospect that we could see the last ever case of wild polio — a disease that once threatened millions of people — before the end of 2016. To eradicate the disease, however, we will have to build on successes like Nigeria’s and strengthen routine immunization efforts…” (7/31).