Polio: cornered but not yet defeated
The current global campaign to eradicate the polio virus has had its share of setbacks: overspending, difficult logistics and outbreaks caused by the vaccine itself. Since 2003, with a new director at the World Health Organization and a big cash injection, the campaign has progress steadily; but the final stages may be the most difficult.
In this article, Leslie Roberts reveals how the eradication campaign — a joint effort by the WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rotary International and UNICEF — is now gearing up for a final assault on the paralysing enterovirus. The problem is that it has retreated to the poorest, most crowded and unsanitary corners of the world, including Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Egypt.
So while the technical ability, manpower, and funds are all in place, the campaign still faces formidable political, cultural and social hurdles in the world's last polio hotspots.