The continued fight to stamp out polio will receive an additional $40.3 million boost from Rotary to support immunisation activities and research carried out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
The funding comes at a critical time as Nigeria, the last polio-endemic country in Africa, approaches one-year since its last case of polio. If the current progress continues, the World Health Organization may remove Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries as early as September. In addition to the notable progress in Nigeria, no new cases of polio have been reported anywhere in Africa since August 2014.
Experts do, however, strongly caution that it is too soon to fully celebrate. Nigeria needs to go an additional two years without polio to be certified polio-free. Funding and support for high-quality immunisation campaigns and surveillance activities will be key to sustaining current gains.
‘We are closer than we’ve ever been to wiping out polio,’ said Mike McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee.