News / Africa

Global Initiative Unveils Six-Year Plan to Eradicate Polio

Rotary Polio Vaccination Day in Kaduna, Nigeria (Rotary International)
Rotary Polio Vaccination Day in Kaduna, Nigeria (Rotary International)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
A new campaign has been announced to eradicate polio. The six-year plan costing $5.5 billion was unveiled Thursday at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi.


The Global Polio Initiative says the plan is the first that aims to eradicate all types of polio – the wild poliovirus and vaccine derived cases. Health officials say on rare occasions, the live, but weakened poliovirus in the oral vaccine may genetically alter in the immunized person’s gut triggering the disease.

If all the funding comes through, more than one billion children could be vaccinated. UNICEF, the U.N. children’s fund, describes ending polio as a historic feat for humanity.

“This is really the beginning of the end. We’re tantalizingly close to eradicating polio and really making history. So it’s an extraordinary opportunity,” said UNICEF spokesperson Sarah Crowe.

"Never before have there been fewer cases in fewer places,” she said.

There were 223 cases reported last year and just 19 so far this year.

“We must seize this opportunity because if we don’t make history – and we last made history, the grand we, was smallpox. The last time a disease was eradicated,” she said.

That was 1979. But the world was close to polio eradication before. It was nearly achieved in 2005, but immunization faltered in some countries, like Nigeria. So what’s different now?

Crowed said, “Because we’ve never been as close. We’re down now to three endemic countries in the world – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. And in those cases there are really just a handful of children who have been affected by polio this year. So we’ve never seen that kind of a drop-off in history.”

At the Global Vaccine Summit, leaders and philanthropists have pledged nearly three-quarters of the funding. $1.5 billion in pledges is still needed.

The polio eradication plan is seen as part of an overall effort to provide vaccines to children around the world.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid