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Eradicating polio would eradicate so much tragedy

Eradicating polio would eradicate so much tragedy

Health
In the outskirts of Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, just beyond where paved roads transition to dirt, an undiagnosed polio infection paralysed a three-year-old girl. From one day to the next, the child’s life was changed forever. Among Africa’s public health community, we had looked at our successes against wild poliovirus as a cause for optimism. In the 1990s, the disease paralysed more than 75,000 African children every year. But following extensive immunization campaigns coupled with strong surveillance, the wild poliovirus was officially kicked out of sub-Saharan Africa just under two years ago. We went from 300,000 cases in 1985 to zero in 2020, just as the Covid pandemic struck. In Malawi, there had been no case of wild poliovirus since 1992, and for many, the disease had become a di...