Wiping out polio

Nigeria is the last country in Africa where polio is endemic, which means the disease has never been eradicated there.

Preparing a vaccinePolio is a highly infectious virus which mainly strikes young children. It is transmitted through contaminated food or water. Once inside the body, it attacks the nervous system. In the worst cases, the infection leads to permanent paralysis.

Twenty years ago, polio paralysed nearly 1,000 children across the world every single day. But with the global push to vaccinate all babies using mouth droplets, there were fewer than 1,000 infections in the whole of 2011.

In 2011, the Vice President of Nigeria launched the ‘Polio Free Torch’ campaign. Health workers visit homes to make sure parents understand why protecting their children is so important. When every child is vaccinated, this highly infectious disease is wiped out. With large immunisation campaigns over recent years, outbreaks have declined and are limited to a few northern states. If local authorities keep up their efforts, the end could finally be in sight for this cruel disease.