About 1,000 cases of polio were reported last year in the world. Polio was found to be present in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. While new cases surfaced in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan
“Polio is a very resilient disease. There was a big impact in tackling it in the first two decades since the goal said Liam Donaldson, head of the Independent Monitoring Board which is monitoring the efforts of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Tackling the remaining 1% of polio is the greatest challenge yet” He added.
Liam praising India said “India has done something simple – it’s run very high quality vaccination campaigns. They have public health leaders who are meticulous in making sure every child is vaccinated”
“If they can do it, why can’t other countries?”
India has reported just one case of polio in the first half of the year.
Pakistan on the other hand is under “risks of becoming the last global outpost of this vicious disease”.
Liam and other experts term strong political and community leadership vital in the countries with polio outbreaks. They also identify a funding gap of £366m.
In a report by the board pointed out problems in some vaccination programmes. It quoted the example of Pakistan where paid vaccinators had sub-contracted their tasks to untrained children.
The board said that “Our view remains that stopping polio transmission needs to be treated as a global health emergency.
“Fourteen countries have had polio outbreaks since the start of 2010. It is alarming and bad for the programme’s morale that there are still these surprises.
“Polio eradication is still possible in the near-term if there is enhanced political commitment, secure funding and strengthened technical capacity” the board concluded.
Polio is highly infectious, mostly affecting children under the age of five. It results n irreversible paralysis by invading the nervous system.
There is no cure, but a vaccine of mouth droplets can give good protection