Nigeria Polio Free For 12 Months
This week the world will mark 12 months since the last Polio case was reported in Nigeria. The last case was reported on 24 July 2014 in Kano state. Once the gateway to Polio in Africa, Nigeria is paving the way to eradicating the disease on the continent.
But reaching the milestone is only one step on the final road to ending polio and it is too soon to declare victory. Until polio is eliminated everywhere, it can return to Nigeria and the rest of Africa. Less than a decade ago, in 2006, polio paralyzed 1,000 people in Nigeria.
For the African region to be certified polio-free, including Nigeria, there must be no polio cases for two more years. To do this, all children in Nigeria and throughout Africa — including those in hard-to-reach and under-served areas — must continue to be protected against the disease.
“The ultimate goal is to ensure that the routine immunization infrastructure is established to increase and sustain the level of herd immunity” [protection for people who are not immune that occurs when a large percentage of the population has been vaccinated], says Tunji Funsho, chair of the Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. This will enable children to “continue to be immunized on schedule and protected from the virus even after the cessation of IPDs [Immunization Plus Days].”
Once all surveillance data is processed, Nigeria will be poised to be taken off the list of polio-endemic countries by the World Health Organization (WHO) in September. That achievement would leave only two polio-endemic countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Pakistan - No new Polio cases reported in Pakistan. Twenty-eight Polio cases have been reported in 2015 compared to 94 at this time last year.