[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 22:47 GMT
Polio spread halted across Africa
A girl about to be vaccinated in Chad, 2004
In many places it has been hard to carry out vaccinations
Polio has been wiped out in 10 African countries, according to a new report by the World Health Organization.

The WHO said the news demonstrated that the world's poorest countries are committed to eradicating polio around the world within 18 months.

Over 200 children were paralysed during the polio outbreaks, which spread from Nigeria across Africa and into the Middle East, even reaching Indonesia.

No cases have been found in the 10 west and central African states since June.

"This is the light at the end of the tunnel," said Bruce Aylward, WHO co-ordinator for the eradication of polio.

"The world can be polio-free in another 18 months everywhere and the poorest countries in the world are committed to turning this around."


The polio outbreak began in 2003 when Islamic clerics in Nigeria organised a boycott of the polio vaccine, claiming it was part a western plot against Muslims.

Aminu and Umar Ahmed, who suffered from polio
Victims often end up disfigured or paralysed, while some die
The disease spread to 15 African countries and managed to spread off the continent.

It was detected in Yemen and Indonesia, causing major health alerts.

The success in wiping out polio in most of Africa leaves only six nations still battling the disease: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger, Afghanistan and Egypt.

Some 1,267 people around the world were infected with polio in 2004, with at least 1,492 new cases in 2005, according to the WHO.

Mr Aylward noted that the WHO is still needs to find $200m (115m) for operations in 2006.

"Now it's simply [about] getting the financial resources to get this thing finished.

"You'll never get another chance like it."

Q&A: Polio
31 May 05 |  Medical notes
Indonesia begins huge polio drive
30 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific
UN launches key anti-polio push
08 Oct 04 |  Africa
Africa 'faces new polio threat'
24 Aug 04 |  Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific