NORMAN — Eliminating polio has been a goal of world health organizations and Rotary International for many years. Rotarians have joined with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the push to vaccinate children worldwide.
As the world noted World Polio Day this week, there are reasons to celebrate and reasons for concern. First, the good news is that polio had been quarantined to three remaining countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Cases are down 40 percent compared to October 2012.
The concerns this week are new reported cases in the Horn of Africa and two suspected cases in Syria. About 300 cases are now active worldwide.
Several volunteers attempting to provide vaccination in many of the countries have been killed. An end-game strategy is being developed but could be years in the making.