A push to vaccinate 45 million children, despite Boko Haram’s brutal insurgency, pushed Nigeria off the endemic list.
1. In September 2015, the World Health Organization removed Nigeria from its list of countries with endemic polio. That list now stands at just two: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
2. Nigeria’s last reported case of the virus contracted from the wild was in July 2014.
3. Polio has now been declared officially eradicated in the wild from Nigeria after 12 months of negative lab tests.
4. This does not mean Nigeria is “polio-free.” One case of non-wild polio had been reported in 2015 as of mid-December.
5. Additionally, polio could also still be transmitted from someone outside the country. But wild eradication puts Nigeria close to that goal.
6. In recent years, community and religious leaders, government officials, public health workers and volunteers had worked together to vaccinate 45 million Nigerian children.
7. As in Afghanistan and Pakistan, most of Nigeria’s final wild polio cases occurred in parts of the country in which violent conflicts had thwarted vaccination efforts.
8. The 53 documented cases of polio in 2013 occurred in Nigeria’s northern states, the focus of a violent insurgency.
9. There the militant group Boko Haram resists all central government activities (including vaccination).
10. Like the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the group has targeted health workers for assassination, making polio eradication that much harder.