LAUNDA, 10 August, 2012 – Today, Angola marks a year without a new wild poliovirus case, moving the world a step closer to the final global goal of eradicating this contagious crippling disease forever.This marks a victory for the polio eradication initiative as Angola experienced a resurgence of polio in the last 6 years.
After a concerted effort to stop polio transmission the number of polio cases dropped from 33 in 2010 to five in 2011 and no cases registered in 2012. Laboratory results have confirmed that the last case of wild poliovirus was a 14-month-old child from Uige Province in the country's Northwest in July 2011.
Angola, which eliminated polio from 2001 to 2004, has been plagued by the re-emergence of this crippling disease since May 2005. The disease has since spread from Angola to Namibia (2006), the Democratic Republic of Congo (2006, 2008 and 2010), and the Republic of Congo (2010).Religious opposition and the U.S. CIA's use of a sham vaccine campaign have caused setbacks in some African and Middle East countries. However UNICEF is working closely with religious leaders, particularly in Pakistan which has recorded one of the highest number of polio cases in the world.
Several other countries have no polio cases on record thus far for 2012 making only four countries recording polio cases for this year, Afganistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Chad. This is good news for global vaccine efforts and the eradication of polio in sight.