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VOA Examines Global Polio Eradication Efforts

VOA News reports on global efforts to eradicate polio, writing, “Experts say with India now polio-free and the total number of cases at the lowest level ever, this is an opportunity to change history and eradicate the disease entirely.” “The oral polio vaccine has cut the number of polio cases worldwide by 99 percent since 1988,” but, “[f]or the past 10 years, … eliminating that last percent has remained a challenge,” the news service continues. “The three countries where polio is still endemic — Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan — are conducting aggressive immunization campaigns to vaccinate more children against the disease,” VOA notes.

“While polio eradication is urgent, [Ellyn Ogden, worldwide polio eradication coordinator for USAID,] said these last remaining reservoirs, such as Nigeria and Pakistan, make it difficult to put a date on success,” VOA writes. Liam Donaldson, chair of the Independent Monitoring Board for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, “said polio eradication programs are not on track to stop polio virus transmission by 2012” (Sinha, 9/3).