World Polio Day is observed on October 24 every year to commemorate the fight against poliomyelitis. In 1988, UNICEF joined the Global Polio Eradication Initiative along with Rotary International and other partners, launching a campaign to rid the world of polio. The timing of the event in late October is in honor of the birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the team that developed the first polio vaccine. The day seeks to create awareness about the hazards of the crippling Polio disease.
Campaign And Its Success:
Global Campaign Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) which was launched in 1988 has played pivotal role in eradication of wild polio virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) is a partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). This health partnership, considered to be the biggest between the governmental and private sectors, has managed to reduce polio incidence by 99%. A disease that affected over 350,000 children in 125 countries annually at one time, it exists in only two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Today, polio does not exist in most of the world, thanks to this historic collective effort. India is also the latest country to have officially stopped transmission of polio—with its last reported case in 2011. Cases are down by 99.9% worldwide. On July 24, 2015, Nigeria, Africa’s last remaining polio-endemic country, recorded the first year in history without a single case.
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease, which mainly affects young children below age of 5. There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. Polio can be prevented through immunization. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, almost always protects a child for life. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.
The virus is transmitted from person-to-person. It mainly spreads through the faecal-oral route (e.g. contaminated water or food). After entering body, it multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In some cases, it causes permanent paralysis.
Key Facts On Polio:
- One in each 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.
- There are 3 types of polio: non-paralytic (does not lead to paralysis), spinal-paralytic (can result in the paralysis of one or more limbs), and bulbar (can result in weak muscles, reflex loss, and respiratory problems).
- Up to 95% of polio cases show no symptoms. A small number of people may have fever, sore throat, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.
There is no cure for polio; however it can only be prevented by immunization. Although
The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 440,000 polio survivors in the United States may be at risk for post-polio syndrome (PPS), a condition that strikes polio survivors decades after they’ve recovered from an attack of the poliomyelitis virus. Various researchers estimate that PPS affects from 40 to 80 percent of polio survivors. PPS usually progresses slowly. It is rarely life-threatening. There is no known cause for PPS. Unlike polio, PPS is not contagious.
You can also encourage eradication of disease and marking World Polio Day by promoting the streaming event on social media. Host a viewing party in your community or near by area. So that by 2019, we can achieve the goal of Polio Free World.