Nigeria was the last African country dealing with wild polio, and since it has finally eradicated the disease thanks to an intense vaccination campaign and the help from survivors, the continent is now officially free from the virus.
“Many rejected the polio vaccine, but they see how much we struggle to reach them, sometimes crawling large distances, to speak to them,” says Misbahu Lawan Didi, president of the Nigerian Polio Survivors Association. “We ask them: ‘Don’t you think it is important for you to protect your child not to be like us?'”
The virus, transmissible through contaminated water, attacks kids under the age of 5. There is no cure for polio, but the vaccine protects children for life. More than 95% of Africa’s population is now immunized, which was a condition the Africa Regional Certification Commission set before in order to declare the continent free from wild polio. The only two countries still dealing with the disease are Afghanistan and Pakistan.