Health Agency Aims to Wipe out Polio by 2005
Atlanta Journal-Constitution; 3A
Shoichet, Catherine E.
In its bid to rid the world of polio by 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) intends to vaccinate some 175 million children against the disease in 2003 alone, starting with campaigns in Egypt, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. The endeavor will be led by Dr. David Heymann, the man credited with quickly organizing the global response to severe acute respiratory syndrome and containing that ailment. The agency states that all but 2 percent of the 235 reported polio cases in 2003 have been located in Nigeria, India, and Pakistan, while a few cases have been reported in Egypt, Afghanistan, Niger, and Somalia. When the WHO began its eradication campaign in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries, so the current low levels are a testament to the agency's effectiveness in some of the most difficult regions of the world, both in terms of geography and politics.