Communities around the world mark World Polio Day

Children waiting to be vaccinated against polio during an immunization campaign in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. WHO/JAWAD JALALI

Were you vaccinated? 24 October 2018 marks this year’s World Polio Day, a global day to raise awareness and resources in support of the polio eradication effort.  Rotarians and other partners are reaching out to leaders and communities, to engage them in the effort, through events, fundraisers and social media campaigns.

This high-level commitment to polio eradication and to mobilizing support for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) comes at a crucial time in polio programme’s history.  At the time of the GPEI’s founding in 1988, polio was endemic in more than 125 countries and paralysed 350 000 children every year. Since then, the GPEI has overseen a 99% reduction in annual cases of polio – down to a historic low of just 22 cases in 2017. Today, only three countries remain endemic to wild poliovirus (WPV) transmission, and the world is closer than ever to being polio-free. The poliovirus has taken refuge in some of the most challenging and dynamic environments in the world.

Bold steps to end polio are needed to adapt to rapidly changing security and access dynamics and to confront challenges in field operations, in conducting surveillance, and in ensuring that good quality data is generated.

Watch the live streaming of the  6th annual World Polio Day event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, at 18:30 Philadelphia time (UTC -4), that will bring together more than 100 000 viewers around the world.

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