Somalia was the last country to identify a new case, which occurred on 11 August 2014. While Africa has achieved an important public health milestone, the job is not yet finished. To end polio forever, all countries – both endemic and non-endemic – must strengthen routine immunization, address gaps in disease surveillance and do more to reach children who are still being missed by vaccinators.
“We cannot wind down our efforts now. We need to continue immunizing until the last country is certified polio-free, and thereafter,” says Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. “As long as the virus remains anywhere in the world, it is only a plane ride away.”
Until 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is matching 2-to-1 every dollar that Rotary commits for polio, up to $35 million a year.