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World Polio Day: A Story of Success from Nigeria

October 24, 2010

Polio is a virus that causes lifelong paralysis. In the 1980s, polio paralyzed more than 1,000 children every day. Today, the world is almost polio-free, and polio has been eliminated from more than 122 countries. However, the disease remains in about twenty countries and is endemic in four —Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

As the world marks World Polio Day on October 24, 2010, UN Foundation Chairman and Founder Ted Turner, President Timothy E. Wirth, and Board Member Andrew Young are visiting Nigeria to meet with government and community leaders to learn firsthand about the power of public-private partnerships aimed at improving children's health and to deliver a message to local leaders that Nigeria must keep up the fight against disease by continuing to leverage the power of modern vaccines.


Last year, Nigeria reduced cases of polio by 99 percent with only eight cases confirmed in 2010, as compared to nearly 400 in the fall of 2009. This success is a result of the critical work of the Council of Amirs, formed by the Sultan of Sokoto and the commitment of government leaders to assure that everyone eligible for a polio vaccine receives one.

Nigeria will hold a national measles immunization campaign in early 2011. The campaign will also include polio vaccinations and will build on the successful work of the polio eradication efforts to prevent measles deaths. Nigeria's government leads most African countries by financing over two-thirds of costs for measles campaigns.

If you'd like to contribute to making the world truly polio-free, please consider making a donation today.