WHO Set To Declare Nigeria Free Of Wild Polio

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World Health Organization is set to certify on Tuesday that Nigeria, along with the African continent is free from wild polio.

The certification comes four years after the last cases appeared in northeastern Nigeria.

World Health Organization in a statement appreciated the relentless efforts by governments, donors, frontline health workers and communities to save up to 1.8 million children have from the crippling life-long paralysis.

The official announcement is due at 1500 GMT in a videoconference with WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and key figures including philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Poliomyelitis, or wild polio is an acutely infectious and contagious disease which attacks the spinal cord and causes irreversible paralysis in children.

It was endemic around the world until a vaccine was found in the 1950s, though this remained out of reach for many poorer countries in Asia and Africa.

As late as 1988, the WHO counted 350,000 cases globally, and in 1996 said there were more than 70,000 cases in Africa alone.

Nigeria, a country with 200 million inhabitants, was still among the trouble-spots in the early 2000s.

In northern Nigeria, authorities were forced to stop vaccination campaigns in 2003 and 2004 by Islamic extremists who claimed it was a vast conspiracy to sterilise young Muslims.

It took a huge effort in tandem with traditional chiefs and religious leaders to convince populations that the vaccine was safe.

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