sábado, 24 de outubro de 2009


When the XXI century began polio hadn’t been worldwide eradicated yet. But had been drastically reduced, far beyond what most people thought possible. The largest disease areas remained in Africa and South Asia. Africa has been a frequent scenario for NIDs due to the conflicts that take place throughout the continent and the difficulties of transport and communications.
India was initially reluctant in receiving the NIDs and therefore had a late start, compared with other countries. However, as soon as the NIDs started the statistics were truly affected. India has more children than any other country on Earth. When the first NID took place in December 1995 there was only money available to vaccinate the children under the age of three. But two million health workers and volunteers prepared 600000 vaccination sites and immunized 90 million children in only one day. The next year, including the four and five years old children, the number rose to 127 million, and in 2000 more or less 152 million children received the two savior drops of the oral polio vaccine in only one PolioPlus NID.
In February 2003, India launched the biggest mass immunization campaign ever against polio – 165 million children under the age of five were vaccinated -, to combat the worst epidemic disease of recent history.
The State of Kano in Nigeria ended abruptly the vaccination against polio en 2003 and in doing so undertook a great retrocession that not only aggravated the epidemic in the country but also spread it to ten other African countries, from Egypt to Botswana, previously declared polio free. But fortunately this wave was controlled after the Geneva declaration in January 2004. In December of that same year 23 countries participated in NIDs, with special reference to Chad, Ivory Coast, Sudan and Burkina Faso, which among the recently contaminated countries were the only ones where the polio transmission hadn’t yet been stopped. Even Nigeria made an enormous effort, although insufficient, to regain the time lost. A tenth country already polio free, Sudan, had a new case in the Darfur region by transmission with the same type of poliovirus that is endemic in northwest of Nigeria. Once the civil war in that north African country started, many are the refugees who live temporarily in fields with the serious risk of the overpopulated environment and with extremely low levels of sanitation.
(To be continued in L)

Henrique Pinto
October 09 in World Polio Day
PHOTOS: A National Immunization Day (NID) in Angola, Director-Genneral for Health, Carlos Lança, Manuel João, Henrique Pinto, Ruth (...), Coronel Tomé and Manuel Cardona; the honourable Dr. Alberto Sabin

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