Nigeria is the last country in Africa to have witnessed a case of polio – in Borno state, in the north-east. Outside of Nigeria, the last case on the continent was in the Puntland region of Somalia, in 2014.
Insecurity in the north-east of Nigeria had curbed the polio vaccination programme, but still, the success in fighting the Boko Haram militant group has been cited as one of the reasons behind getting polio under control.
“Political support and an injection of funds have also helped,” said officials.
In 2018, there was a total of 33 polio cases confined to just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This is a great milestone for the African continent
“The continent is on the verge of an extraordinary public health achievement; one which will be our legacy to our children and children’s children,” said The newly re-appointed WHO Africa head Dr Matshidiso Moeti.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, usually affects children under the age of five.
It is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pains in the limbs.