Just barely past the two-year anniversary of the last wild polio case in Nigeria, it has been confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) that two children were paralyzed because of the virus in July.
Both cases were in Borno state; the birthplace of the extremist group Boko Haram. Conflict and displacement of people in the area have made it difficult to ensure that every child is getting vaccinated.
While it is a disappointing setback, there has been a tremendous effort over the last 30 years to increase vaccinations and eradicate polio once and for all. These two new cases are a stark reminder of how debilitating polio truly is and the importance of seeing the fight through to the end.
Rotary International has played an integral role in the large-scale polio vaccination campaigns that have put eradication within reach. When the two new cases in Nigeria were confirmed, the organization released a statement to make their dedication crystal clear.
"The program has overcome outbreaks before, and we have the tools to do so again in Nigeria. Rotary will not stop its efforts to ensure that every child is born into a polio-free world where they are safe from this paralyzing disease," Rotary wrote.
Local and national government agencies in Nigeria are working with Rotary and other international partners to limit the damage of this outbreak. This shared interest made Nigeria a success story, as the country went from leading the world in polio cases in 2012 to being certified polio-free in 2015. With hard work and determination, that result can be achieved again.
Want to help Rotary's fight to eradicate polio once and for all? Consider making a donation to End Polio Now.
Cover image: Shutterstock