Outbreaks of polio have become a thing of the past, told to us by our grandparents, only because of vaccination.
The polio eradication programme in Africa directly combated a severe debilitating disease. But it also provided a platform for broader healthcare services on the continent.
Polio was nearly eradicated with the Salk vaccine in 1955. At the time, little was known about this mysterious disease that paralyzed and sometimes killed young children.
A challenge in eradicating polio comes from a version of the vaccine itself, which relies on live but attenuated virus. Rationally designing a new vaccine could help get rid of polio once and for all.
Polio can be circulating through a community long before anyone is paralyzed. Monitoring sewage for the virus lets public health officials short-circuit this ‘silent transmission.’
Pakistan had only eight new diagnoses of polio in 2017. The virus’ days look numbered – but health workers have their work cut out for them to eradicate the devastating disease once and for all.
Social media rumours are putting Nigeria’s vaccination campaigns at risk.
Current plans to eradicate polio mean keeping the virus alive – and risk restarting the epidemic.
Vaccination is not to be taken for granted.
Polio for years has been close to becoming eradicated, with the entire continent of Africa going two years without a reported case – until early August. Here’s why eradication is hard but attainable.
A new polio outbreak in Nigeria has hampered the country’s efforts to be declared polio free by 2017.
Eradicating the last 1% of polio cases in the world requires an endgame plan centred on immunisation and surveillance.
The positive impact of the polio eradication initiatives on the continent can be felt across the health sector in other health programmes.
Nigeria’s strategy to eliminate polio was so effective that it was duplicated to deal with ebola. So why did the country take so long to get off the list of polio-endemic countries?
It’s been one year since the last polio case was reported in Africa. If the continent keeps this up, it could be declared polio free by 2018.