African officials are celebrating as they announce a huge milestone in their history.
It has been exactly one year since there has been a reported case of polio in all of Africa. And they are not the only ones excited about the news. Health experts across the globe are excited as well, as they see the milestone as a big victory overall in the fight against the infectious disease, according to News Quench.
Polio has also found its way into the west-African nation of Nigeria, regardless of past attempts to ward it off. But after embracing a new approach recently that included a heavy vaccination and rigorous monitoring of unvaccinated people as well. The vaccines also were provided to the most remote tribal areas reaching far and wide.
On August 11, 2014, the last case of polio was declared in Somalia following an outbreak that originally started up in Nigeria. The last case reported there was on July 24, 2014. But before any of this, the disease had never been eliminated, for any amount of time at all.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling this out as a big achievement, while at the same time, recognizing the progress as a delicate situation. At this time, doctors cannot promise or predict whether or not the disease is coming to make another comeback.
The global attempt to eradicate polio began in 1988. At that time, 350,000 children across the world were paralyzed because of the disease every year. As of 2014, only 359 children were left in that same condition due to the disease.
Even though the progress made in fighting the disease over the past few decades has been strong and proven effective, officials feel that it is still too early to celebrate the overall eradication of the disease across the globe. Small victories are still well worth celebrating, but recognizing that the progress is still fragile, will help to continue the strength behind fighting it.