Only 60 cases new cases of polio were reported globally for all of 2015. This small number represents a historic low proving the disease is all but defeated. Last year the World Health Organization (WHO) counted 359 news cases. As recent as 1988, a staggering 350.000 people fell ill with polio, a terrible affliction that can result in lifelong paralysis.
Back then, the disease was widespread in 125 countries around the world. Today, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two only countries were polio is still fairly common. Lacking infrastructure and the difficulties associated with providing medical services in remote areas, means that it will be hard to completely eradicate polio here.
India is maybe the greatest success stories in the fight against polio. The battle was won after 2.3 million vaccinators, spread around the country in 640 000 vaccination booths, administered 200 million doses of vaccine, and visited 191 million homes. A grand total of 172 million children were immunized in India alone. All of this happened in just one round of India’s national immunization days.
Large scale vaccination campaigns like India’s have helped to drive back polio globally. According to the WHO, at least 13 million people can walk to today because of these efforts, who would otherwise be severely impaired.