The flareup of polio in parts of Africa where terrorists decided to kill volunteers providing vaccinations to stop the spread of the dread disease apparently has failed to end the Rotary-supported effort.
The region has officially again been certified free of the wild polio virus, leaving only Afghanistan and Pakistan as centers of polio which cripples and kills people of all ages, but particularly the young.
This week, the Africa Regional Certification Commission certified the World Health Organization’s 47-nation African Region as wild polio-free after four years without a case. With this historic milestone, five of the six WHO regions -– representing more than 90% of the world’s population -– now are free from the wild poliovirus, moving the world closer to achieving global polio eradication.
“During a challenging year for global health, the certification of the African Region as wild poliovirus-free is a sign of hope and progress that shows what can be accomplished through collaboration and perseverance,” said Rotary International President Holger Knaack. “Since 1996, when Nelson Mandela joined with Rotary, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and governments of the African region we’ve achieved something remarkable.
“Today’s milestone tells us that polio eradication is possible, as long as the world remains committed to finishing the job. Let us work together to harness our collective energies to overcome the remaining challenges and fulfill our promise of a polio-free world.”