Africa now free of wild poliovirus, but polio threat remains
The World Health Organization declares Africa polio-free. By Jeffrey Kluger. Nobody will ever know the identity of the thousands of African children who were not killed or paralyzed by polio this year, they would have been hard to keep track of no matter what because in ordinary times they would've followed thousands last year and thousands the year before and on back in a generations long trail of suffering and death instead, no African children were claimed by polio. This year or last year or the year before it was in two thousand sixteen that the last case of wild circulating polio was reported in Nigeria the final country on the fifty four nation African continent where the disease was endemic and with the required multi year waiting period. Now, having passed with no more cases, the World Health Organization today officially declared the entirety of, Africa polio-free. A disease that as recently as the late nineteen eighties was endemic in one hundred, twenty, five countries claiming three hundred, fifty, thousand children per year has now been run to ground in just two remaining places, Pakistan and Afghanistan where there have been a collective one, hundred, two cases so far twenty twenty that's one hundred to too many. But there's no denying the scope of the whol announcement today's victory over the wild poliovirus in the. African region is a testament to what can happen when partners from a variety of sectors join forces to accomplish a major global health goal says John Hueco, general, secretary, and CEO of Rotary International. It is something the world can and should aspire to during these turbulent times. It was Rotary and International Nonprofit Service Organization that kicked off the polio endgame in Nineteen Eighty eight with the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative the GPA. That program aimed to leverage the power of rotaries thirty, five, thousand clubs and one point twenty, two, million members in two hundred countries and territories worldwide to make polio only the second human disease after smallpox to be pushed over the brink of extinction.