Africa is set to be declared free of wild polio, with the last case recorded in Nigeria in 2016. As this chart showing the number of cases since 2000 highlights, it has been a hard fight to reach this historic milestone.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization regional director for Africa commented: “It’s been a momentous, massive undertaking, with amazing persistence and perseverance, coming in the face of moments when we thought we were just about there, then we’d have a reversal,”. The potentially fatal virus, which mainly affects children under 5 years old and can cause irreversible paralysis, is now only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is no known cure, however a vaccine will protect children for life.