Lagos – The number of polio cases have fallen significantly in Nigeria over the past year, suggesting the country is on course to eliminate the disease.
This is a according to statistics the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund released.
The health agency said Nigeria has had only six cases this year, a massive drop from from 49 in 2013.
The statistics were revealed as UN agencies marked World Polio Day on Friday.
According to UNICEF, the annual number of polio cases has fallen from 350 000 in 1988, to 416 in 2013, and 243 so far this year – an extraordinary drop of more than 99 percent.
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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 has 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,” Lake added.
“Our most ambitious and audacious goals for children can be met. And if they can be, they must be. 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.
- CAJ News