When Rotary embarked on the journey in pursuit of a polio-free world more than 35 years ago, 350,000 children around the world were being paralyzed by polio every single year. Together with our Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, governments of the world, donors, and millions of health workers, we have moved mountains to eliminate polio in the country after country, region after region.
Last year, the entire World Health Organization (WHO) African region was certified as wild polio-free, an incredible feat that once seemed impossible. My home country, Nigeria, was the last country on the African continent to report a case of wild polio when a young girl named Ya Fana became the last victim of the wild poliovirus in 2016. While Ya Fana will never have the chance to live a life free of polio, along with countless other Nigerian and African polio survivors, Rotary and its partners are committed to ensuring that no African child ever again will have to suffer the devastating and paralysing effects of wild polio.
Today, five out of the six WHO regions are free of wild polio, and just two countries remain where wild polio continues to circulate: Afghanistan and Pakistan. While outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) continue in under-immunized communities in numerous countries, a new tool has been deployed – novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2) – which has a substantially lower risk of causing cVDPVs. Read More