WHO Set to Declare Africa Free From Polio
The World Health Organisation (WHO) will today declare Africa free from wild polio, four years after the last cases appeared in northeastern Nigeria.
The WHO said in a statement said up to 1.8 million children have been saved from the crippling life-long paralysis, because of the relentless efforts by governments, donors, frontline health workers and communities.
The official announcement will be done in a videoconference with WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and key figures including philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Poliomyelitis, or “wild polio” is an acutely infectious and contagious disease which attacks the spinal cord and causes irreversible paralysis in children.
It was endemic until a vaccine was found in the 1950s, although this remained out of reach for many poorer countries in Asia and Africa.
As late as 1988, the WHO counted 350,000 cases globally, and in 1996 said there were more than 70,000 cases in Africa alone.