A young boy in Baluchistan province, Pakistan is vaccinated against polio.
NEW YORK/GENEVA/ HONG KONG, 23 October 2015 – Never before in the history of polio have so few children in so few countries contracted the crippling virus – but we cannot rest until the number of cases is zero, UNICEF said on the eve of World Polio Day.
“Progress to end polio is real and dramatic, with now just two countries in the world where the wild poliovirus has never been interrupted: Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said Peter Crowley, head of the Polio Unit at UNICEF. “But – and it’s a big but – until all children everywhere are consistently and routinely immunized against polio, the threat remains. We cannot let down our guard; we have to keep going until there is not a single child anywhere who remains unvaccinated.”
These successes are a result of political will and government leadership in affected countries; the strong mobilization and engagement of communities; the courage and commitment of front-line workers; and the combined, coordinated efforts of the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF.
As part of its contribution to this Initiative, UNICEF delivered 1.7 billion doses of vaccine in 2014 and supported the training of tens of thousands of front-line workers in communities from Karachi in Pakistan to Kano state in Nigeria, helping to build trust in the vaccine among parents and communities. Other success factors have been the integration of additional life-saving interventions for children such as routine immunization, nutrition, handwashing with soap, and breastfeeding, into polio campaigns, particularly in the most under-served and high-risk areas.
|Donate now to support UNICEF’s programmes worldwide|