There are just two countries left where poliovirus can be found, after a recent declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria.
Nigeria has not reported a case of wild poliovirus since July 24, 2014, and all laboratory data have confirmed a full 12 months have passed without any new cases, according to a prepared statement from WHO officials.
As recently as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide, but since that time, more than 200,000 volunteers repeatedly immunized more than 45 million children younger than age 5 years.
“Stopping polio in Nigeria has been a clear example that political engagement, strong partnerships and community engagement are the engines that drive the momentum of public health programs, enabling them to achieve great things,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said in the statement.
The statement credited innovative approaches, such as increased community involvement and the establishment of Emergency Operations Centres at the national and state level, for Nigeria’s success. .
Polio remains endemic in only two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“The eradication of polio globally now depends primarily on stopping the disease in these countries,” according to the statement from WHO. “As long as polio exists anywhere, it’s a threat to children everywhere.”