Tue | Jan 25, 2022

One year with no new polio cases

Published:Saturday | July 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Once stigmatised as the world's polio epicentre, Nigeria last Friday celebrated its first year with no reported case of the crippling disease, having overcome obstacles ranging from Islamic extremists who assassinated vaccinators to rumours that the vaccine was a plot to sterilise Muslims.

Just 20 years ago, this West African nation was recording 1,000 polio cases a year - the highest in the world. The last recorded case of a child paralysed by the wild polio virus endemic in Nigeria's impoverished and mainly Muslim north was on July 24, 2014.

"We are celebrating the first time ever that Nigeria has gone without a case of polio, but with caution," said Dr Tunji Funsho, chairman of Rotary International's polio campaign in Nigeria.

If there are no new cases and laboratory tests remain negative in the next few weeks, the World Health Organization will take Nigeria off the list of polio-endemic countries.

Nigeria is the last African country on that list.