Victory against polio

Nigeria's success in eradicating polio is a victory for science against malicious misinformation

A Democratic Republic of Congo ministry of health employee administers a polio vaccination to a child. Gwenn Dubourthoumieu / AFP
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News that Nigeria has been removed from the list of polio endemic countries is very welcome. The declaration by the World Health Organisation, which means the country has gone a year without a naturally occurring case of the disease, is testimony to the work of those Nigerians who have ensured the success of the polio vaccination programme despite misinformation campaigns that culminated in the murder of nine health workers two years ago.

Nigeria’s success ought to serve as a lesson to the two remaining polio endemic countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan – where the Taliban attempt to control people by harassing and killing vaccination workers. The message is clear: the polio vaccine saves and improves lives. That is why the global eradication campaign has been supported at the very highest level of government in the UAE.

Polio can be prevented by a simple vaccine, but it takes time to cure ignorance and irrational fear spread for nefarious reasons.