News / Health

Health Experts: One Last Push Needed to Eliminate Polio

Health Experts: One Last Push Needed to Eliminate Polioi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Vidushi Sinha
September 03, 2012 7:16 PM
The three countries where polio is still endemic - Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan - are conducting aggressive immunization campaigns to vaccinate more children against the disease. 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 irradicate the disease entirely. VOA's Vidushi Sinha reports that to reinforce that commitment, many world leaders will be meeting in New York this month.
Health Experts: One Last Push Needed to Eliminate Polio
Vidushi Sinha
The three countries where polio is still endemic - Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan - are conducting aggressive immunization campaigns to vaccinate more children against the disease. 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 irradicate the disease entirely. To reinforce that commitment, many world leaders will be meeting in New York this month.

The oral polio vaccine has cut the number of polio cases worldwide by 99 percent since 1988. For the past 10 years, though, eliminating that last percent has remained a challenge.

Even though the total number of cases has declined, experts say every time they have knocked the virus out in one country, they have seen it pop up in another.

“We have the highest population immunity throughout the entire world right now, and we are really talking about just a few districts and a few countries with a population that has been missed for a fairly long period of time,” said Ellyn Ogden is worldwide polio eradication coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Dr. Liam Donaldson, Britain's Chief Medical Officer, who is head of the World Health Organization's Independent Monitoring Board for polio eradication, spoke via Skype, and said the board is especially worried about Nigeria.

“So our good news is mixed with continuing concerns," said Donaldson. "The numbers were coming down, but over the last year we have seen a worrying increase in Nigeria. Polio in Nigeria isn’t just a problem for the population of Nigeria. A lot of the outbreaks that have occurred in other parts of Africa have been fed from epicenters in Nigeria, so that’s why it’s very important not just for Nigeria but for other parts of Africa, as well.”

Donaldson said polio eradication programs are not on track to stop polio virus transmission by 2012.

While polio eradication is urgent, Ogden said these last remaining reservoirs, such as Nigeria and Pakistan, make it difficult to put a date on success.

“It may not happen in the time frame that we are thinking or in the budget that we are thinking, it may take longer and cost more, but I think the effort and the nearness merit additional investments by donors and partners that it's still too early to give up on this ship," said Ogden.

Donaldson said that with 125 cases reported so far this year, one final push is needed to get polio eradication over the finish line.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid