News / Health

Polio Chased From Southeast Asia

Polio Chased From Southeast Asiai
X
Steve Baragona
March 28, 2014 5:35 PM
A swath of territory from India to Indonesia has been declared free of polio, the crippling and sometimes fatal disease. The World Health Organization says 80 percent of the world’s population now lives in areas it has certified as polio-free. VOA’s Steve Baragona reports.
A swath of territory from India to Indonesia has been declared free of polio, a crippling and sometimes fatal disease. The World Health Organization said 80 percent of the world’s population now lives in areas it has certified as polio-free.
 
Polio once paralyzed a thousand children a day worldwide, but since 1988 the largest public health campaign in history has been delivering vaccines to every remote corner of the globe to beat back the disease.
 
At a ceremony in New Delhi Thursday, the World Health Organization’s Poonam Khetrapal Singh said all 11 countries in the Southeast Asia region had eradicated polio.
 
“It is a day that all countries fought hard for, and a day when all stakeholders come together to relish the victory of humankind over a dreaded disease that, for centuries, has killed and disabled legions," said Khetrapal.
 
India was the last and most challenging country in the region to reach this milestone, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Steve Cochi.
 
“That country is a tropical country with poor sanitation, high population density, tremendous migration of the inhabitants of that country all the time, and weak immunization systems that represent enormous challenges,” said Cochi.
 
The challenges of underdevelopment are not limited to India. Many of the same issues can be found in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last three countries that have been unable to stop polio transmission.
 
Perhaps the biggest challenge has been parents’ concern that the vaccine will harm their children. Cochi said these fears take hold not because the vaccine is unsafe, but because of a lack of trust.
 
“Underserved communities, minority populations may mistrust the government, may mistrust the real reason for coming to the community with vaccines or any other health intervention. And it’s a case of rebuilding that trust,” said Cochi.
 
Offering community health clinics that deliver more than just polio vaccine are one way the campaign has done that.
 
The CDC has also helped train local people to talk to their neighbors about polio and other health issues. People trust a local, said Indian trainee Ejaz Afzal.
 
“People know him, this is our village, [he] is from our locality. So they are believing [him],” explained Afzal.
 
Afzal went to the Horn of Africa to help control an ongoing outbreak in countries that used to be polio free. Fighting has blocked vaccination campaigns in Syria. The virus has spread from that country to Iraq, and officials are concerned it will spread farther, possibly into Europe.
 
It’s a reminder that polio anywhere remains a threat everywhere.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More