My shoki is real and my happiness is immense as the BBC announces today that Nigeria has celebrated a whole year without a since recorded case of polio.
Our country can now be taken off the list of countries where the disease is endemic, if the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the results. According to the rules though, Nigeria will have to wait a further two years before it can be declared officially polio free!
We have struggled to contain polio since some northern states imposed a ban on vaccinations in 2003. This is a problem as polio has no cure and can only be prevented by vaccination. If a single child is infected, any unvaccinated child in the immediate vicinity is at risk. This is amazing news indeed.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries to record cases in 2015.
Global health experts are hoping polio can become only the second human infectious disease to be eradicated, after smallpox.
- An infectious disease caused by a virus which invades the nervous system and may cause irreversible paralysis
- It can strike at any age but mainly affects children under five
- Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life
- As long as a single child remains infected with polio, unvaccinated children in all countries are at risk
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