immunization
immunization

Over 1000 children are?saved from polio disability?every day, the United Nations Children?s Fund?(UNICEF), has said.

immunization
immunization

The UN agency for children?said since the global campaign?started some 26 years ago, millions?of previously-unreached?children across the world have?been immunised.

This translates into some 10?million people today who would?otherwise have been paralysed,?with an additional 1.5 million?lives being saved through the
routine administration of Vitamin?A during polio vaccination?drives.

UNICEF noted that the annual?number of polio cases have?fallen from 350,000 in 1988, to 416?in 2013, and 243 so far this year,?representing an extraordinary
drop of more than 99 percent.

Also, all but three countries?where polio was firmly?entrenched; Afghanistan, Nigeria?and Pakistan have eliminated the?virus within their borders and?multiple outbreaks have been?contained over the past 26 years.

?In 1988, polio was a leading?cause of childhood disability,??said UNICEF Executive Director,?Anthony Lake.

?In country after country?since then, a generation of children?have grown up without the?spectre of polio.?

?The success of the eradication?effort ? reaching some of the?most disadvantaged communities?in some of the most dangerous?circumstances ? proves that it?is possible to reach all children,??Mr Lake added.

?Our most ambitious and?audacious goals for children can?be met. And if they can be, they?must be.?

Nigeria has had only six cases?this year, down from 49 in 2013.?Afghanistan has reduced transmission?to very low levels, with?most cases linked to Pakistan.

With 187 cases already reported?this year, Pakistan is now the?world?s largest remaining reservoir?of polio.

While polio remains endemic?in only three countries, it continues?to pose a risk to children?everywhere, especially in countries?which have not made routine?immunisation a priority like?South Sudan, the Central African?Republic and Ukraine. Outbreaks?in Syria, Iraq, Cameroon, Equatorial?Guinea and Somalia can be?traced to Pakistan and Nigeria.

UNICEF procures 1.7 billion?doses of oral polio vaccine to?reach 500 million children every?year and its social mobilisation?work helps persuade families to?accept the vaccine when it reaches?them.

Intensive efforts over the past?decade have seen acceptance of?the polio vaccine at their highest?levels ever in countries where?polio remains endemic.

?The world has never been?closer to this once-in-a-generation?opportunity of eradicating?polio for good.

Every child deserves to live in?a polio-free world,? Lake said.

BY Jamila Akweley?Okertchiri

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