Nigeria marks one year without any reported polio cases

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Polio vaccine being administered to children in Nigeria

 

Nigeria had struggled to contain polio since some northern states imposed a ban on vaccinations in 2003. However, it will take two years of monitoring, before it can be certified as free of the virus.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries to record cases in 2015.

Global health experts are hoping polio can become only the second human infectious disease to be eradicated.

The developments though have raised hopes that Nigeria will come off the list of countries where polio is endemic.

It also brings closer the prospect that polio will soon become the second human infectious disease after smallpox to be eradicated.

The Country marks one year with no new cases. A reminder of the potentially debilitating impact of polio

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Polio vaccination program where health officials go door to door administering the vaccine

The disease mainly affects children under five and can cause irreversible paralysis. It can only be prevented by vaccination as there is no cure.

The 2003 immunisation ban followed allegations by some state governors and religious leaders in the mainly Muslim north that vaccines were contaminated by Western powers to spread sterility and HIV among Muslims.

Independent tests ordered by the Nigerian government in 2004 declared that the vaccines were safe.

Health Experts go house to house around Kano to make sure every child under five gets a dose of the oral vaccine.The eradication process has not been easy.

Suspicion, ignorance and security concerns have all played their part in hampering efforts to stamp out the virus for good. Nine health workers were shot dead in this area in February as they administered the vaccine.

Gaining the trust of leaders and individual families is now seen as half the battle. Nigeria has struggled to contain polio for years now and the push is paying off. There have been no new cases so far this year and authorities are hoping the situation stays that way.

Tackling Polio in Nigeria is also seen as key to the global effort to eradicate the virus once and for all.