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Ending Polio in Conflict Zones

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) published on its site that in recent years, the global drive to eradicate polio has seen the virus cornered in fewer places than ever before. Yet polio’s final strongholds are some of the most complicated places in the world to deliver vaccination campaigns due to insecurity, conflict, migrations, terrain, weather, weak health systems, and other challenges.

In 2013, polio outbreaks in Central Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East paralyzed hundreds of children. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) developed strategies to deliver vaccines and stop the virus, even when access seemed impossible. All three of these outbreaks were put to an end just a year later, by not letting the complexity of the situation undermine the quality of vaccination campaigns.

The valuable lessons learned by the GPEI in tackling these outbreaks are now being used to end polio in the final polio endemic countries, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, as well as to stop a newly detected circulating vaccine-derived polio outbreak in Syria.

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