No polio in Somalia

by Liza on Mar. 25th, 2008

The World Health Organization today declared Somalia "polio free." (The last case of polio in the country was reported March 25, 2007; there hasn't been a single infection in the last year.) Health workers wiped out the disease by repeatedly vaccinating all 1.8 million Somali children under age 5.

Polio is extremely contagious and hard to eradicate, and Somalia's achievement is even more amazing given the country's challenges: war, poverty, hunger, no central government, and a lack of detailed medical data.

One more thing: the BBC article linked to above contains this quote from Ali Mao Moallim, a volunteer health worker who also happens to be the last person on Earth to have contracted smallpox:

"Somalia was the last country with smallpox. I wanted to help ensure that we would not be the last place with polio, too."

Awesome.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Whoa. Eradicating polio in Somalia is even cooler when you realize that UNICEF considers Somalia the worst place in the world for children.

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 10:56am
Rob's picture
Rob says:

Cool I remember getting the vaccine on sugar cubes great to see it is being erradicated.
RJH

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 12:39pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How long do you think this will last, all it takes is someone to srcew up or sell the vaccine, and replace the vaccine with a saleiene compound.

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 3:53pm
shanee's picture
shanee says:

well thats amazing that not only the us has vaccinations but somalia as well....im really glad that somone besides the riches country in the world can have a great epidemic as well....

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:51am
BLB's picture
BLB says:

That is really good to know, we some more news like that not no pregnant man~_~

Yadadamean!!!

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:53am
Andy Korman's picture
Andy Korman says:

good to hear about the no polio

hooray no more polio in Somalia

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:55am
Laurie's picture
Laurie says:

I think it is wonderful that Somalia is polio free - one battle won. But the war is far from over. The good news is the number of polio cases has been reduced from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to just under 700 reported cases at the end of in 2003 - a greater than 99% reduction in cases. But if you look at the global numbers, the year to date count for 2008 is 243 cases. At this point in 2007 there were 68 cases with a total of 1,308 cases for the whole year. We were so close to eradicating polio and now it looks like the numbers of cases are increasing.
From the Global Polio Eradication Initiative:

"Poliovirus travels easily and, in the world of modern travel, can cover long distances. Until transmission of the virus has been interrupted in the four remaining endemic countries, the risk to the rest of the world remains high. Somalia, which had already eradicated the disease in 2002, became re-infected in 2005 by poliovirus originating in Nigeria. This repeated success in Somalia indicates the disease can be stopped even in areas with no functioning central government."

So, hurray for Somalia and all of the people who helped meet this important and exciting milestone. Now there is work to be done!

posted on Wed, 04/02/2008 - 3:44pm

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