World Polio Day 2018
October 24, World Polio Day is an opportunity for the global polio eradication community to renew its promise to every child at-risk from this preventable, paralyzing disease and to realize a polio-free world for future generations. The importance of this year’s theme, Bold Steps to End Polio, spotlights the incredible milestones the program has achieved to rid the world of polio forever.
In 2017, only 22 cases of wild poliovirus were reported in two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nigeria has gone two years without detection of any new cases of wild poliovirus. Except for the conflict-affected northeast, the rest of Nigeria has not reported any case for over four years. The road to eradication is not easy, and the last steps are some of the most difficult. To overcome the challenges and end polio for good, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) implements innovative strategies to reach children everywhere, and underscores the need for continued political and financial commitment.
This year marks the 30th year since the world took the first bold step together to eradicate and contain all types of wild polioviruses. Today we are closer than ever to stopping type 1, the only circulating strain of wild poliovirus we’ve detected since 2012.” The World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and later, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation formed GPEI to work alongside governments and frontline health care workers to free the world from polio. GPEI has decreased polio to 99.9% since 1988 and over 2.5 billion children received vaccination.
This World Polio Day, we gather to acknowledge the progress, to share lessons from our work and to continue together with the next Bold Steps to End Polio for every child and future generations.
In 2016, the GPEI History Project was established to ensure the documentation of the history of global polio eradication, the global partnership, and lessons learned, and recognize those involved in the effort. While GPEI partners have been focused on their own institutional polio history, this project concentrates on the partnership and the legacy of this global collaboration over the last 30 years. The photos presented show a selection of artifacts collected since the inception of the project.