The World Health Organization (WHO) will sponsor a massive polio vaccination drive in Africa, the AP reports. The news comes on the heels of outbreaks in Uganda, which announced setbacks in it's eradication campaign today. WHO also noted polio outbreaks in Angola, Congo, Liberia and Mali.
As part of the program, 300,000 health workers will attempt to reach 72 million children by going door-to door throughout the continent, reports the UN. They will be attempting to vaccinate every child under the age of five in areas considered "high risk."
Nigeria is the continent's only nation never to have eradicated the disease, but it did manage to but cut incidents of the virus by 98 percent last year. The Nigerian campaign has been heavily financed by Ted Turner, who Monday donated $80 million to a UN fund combat the disease in Nigeria.
Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF's Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said that:
Political leaders across Africa answered the challenge posed by this dreadful disease and the results are before us. It shows what can be done when there is leadership and dynamic partnership with donor support around such an important health issue. We need to continue efforts to vaccinate and to put the needs of children in Africa first.