It’s a story about the stunning gains the poorest people in the world have made over the last 25 years.
We are achingly close to getting rid of polio—more than 99 percent of the way there. Finishing the job is a big challenge, but it is very doable if we keep up the effort. The photos below give you a sense of what it takes to reach every child with polio vaccines. It’s a massive undertaking and I really admire everyone involved.
Teams of people work together to administer and track the polio vaccines. Here you see a child getting her drops at a border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the only two countries that have never been free of the disease.
It’s important to raise awareness during vaccination drives. In a community in Nigeria, Hussain Ishaq encourages parents to bring their children to get vaccinated.
Stopping polio requires reaching very remote places with every means of transport. In this photo, health workers are unloading vaccines from a boat that just crossed the Ganges in India.
Some polio workers need extra security because they work in especially dangerous areas.
In India and other countries, health workers mark the walls of houses so they know which children got their vaccines.
Polio can cause death or permanent paralysis. This boy, Ziad, was 11 years old when this photo was taken in Ethiopia in 2005. He crawled to school every day and was one of the top students in his class.
Young Indians with polio come to the Amar Jyoti center for education, physical therapy, and vocational training. Places like this do amazing work, but my hope is that one day they will no longer be necessary because polio will be a thing of the past.
In Nigeria, the Kano State Polio Victims Trust Association provides hand-powered tricycles for people with the disease so they can move around independently.
If we keep up the effort—and the funding that supports it—I am very optimistic that we can wipe out polio. When we do, we will have millions of health workers, funders, volunteers, and other advocates to thank for this amazing accomplishment.