Daily Nation

In an opinion piece by Dr. Mathshidiso Moeti, The WHO’s regional director for Africa, discusses the campaigns and attempts to eradicate Polio in Africa over the years. Nigeria, the last remaining country on the continent on the polio endemic list, has had zero new cases of wild poliovirus since July 2014 — a remarkable achievement.

Vital lessons learned from this must be “built upon to ensure that no child dies from vaccine preventable diseases.” The first-ever Continental Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this November will call upon every African health minister to ensure that life-saving vaccines — against polio and other preventable diseases — reach all children.

"In 1995, polio affected all countries across Africa and paralysed more than 75,000 children for life.

The following year, then South African president Nelson Mandela launched a new campaign, Kick Polio Out of Africa.

His hope was that polio would follow the only human disease ever consigned to the history books: smallpox. Today we are one step closer to achieving that goal.

On August 11, for the first time in history, Africa reached one year without a single case of wild poliovirus being confirmed. Just three years ago, Nigeria was home to more than half of all global cases of wild poliovirus and outbreaks in the Horn of Africa and central Africa in 2013 made some question the feasibility of global eradication."

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