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A Milestone in Africa: No Polio Cases in a Year

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By coincidence I've just finished a biography of Jonas Salk. Why he never got a Nobel Prize is a mystery. Anyway this is good news.

 

 

It has been one full year since polio was detected anywhere in Africa, a significant milestone in global health that has left health experts around the world quietly celebrating.

 

The goal had seemed tantalizingly close in recent years, but polio always managed to roar back, particularly in Nigeria. Then officials embraced a vigorous new approach to vaccination and surveillance in that country, hiring thousands of community “mobilizers†to track down the unvaccinated, opening operations centers nationwide to monitor progress and seeking out support from clerics and tribal chiefs.

 

The result has been remarkable.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/12/health/a-milestone-in-africa-one-year-without-a-case-of-polio.html?smid=pl-share&_r=0

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This was originally an initiative by Rotary International who are still supporting this program strongly with the UN and Bill Gates getting involved but the battle is not yet won - there are still pockets in Afghanistan and Pakistan and as long as it exist in these small pockets it can still make a come back, so the eventual aim is to eradicate from each and every human being on the globe, the problem being that the nearer we get to achieving this the more difficult it becomes because of the isolation of communities in unfavourable terrains and also because of adverse reactions from certain fanatic groups; for example health workers at vaccination stations have been shot.

 

However the work continues and will continue until we can be sure the job is done.

 

http://www.endpolio.org/

 

I am in fact one of the very lucky people who contracted infantile paralysis, possibly a mild strain, at an early age of 2 to 3 years of age - my mother told me that I was paralysed for about 3 weeks but she constantly manipulated my limbs and I made a full recovery but I have no memory of it - during the course of growing up I met many others who ended up wearing leg irons and saw the terrible pictures of people in iron lungs.

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By coincidence I've just finished a biography of Jonas Salk. Why he never got a Nobel Prize is a mystery. Anyway this is good news.

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/12/health/a-milestone-in-africa-one-year-without-a-case-of-polio.html?smid=pl-share&_r=0

The rather eccentric choices for Nobel prizes has sparked many a controversy, as Jocelyn Bell could attest. Graciously, she's never complained.

My old history teacher was cursed with Polio exactly one month before his scheduled vaccination. It left him crippled. An awful disease.

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It is indeed an awful disease. I remember getting my jab when the mass vaccination of the Salk vaccine got underway. Of course in those days TB was still rife as well. I remember visiting my mother in the local sanatorium in 1954, Part of it can only be described as a line of open chalets. It was situated in the grounds of what used to be just 35 years earlier the local mineral lords estate. Times were a changing.

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