World Polio Day Celebrates History in the Making

Posted on 24 October 2018

24 October, World Polio Day, celebrates progress against the disease

Today, the WHO European Region is reflecting on the progress against polio. “Even though we don’t have polio in the WHO European Region, it is important to keep vaccinating until we have rid this disease from every corner of our planet. As long as polio is circulating somewhere in the world, everyone who is not immunized is at risk,” said Dr Patrick O’Connor, Team Lead, Accelerated Disease Control, WHO/Europe ahead of a special focus day on the 24th October, which is World Polio Day.

You can read a news item from the WHO Regional Office for Europe regarding the activities and events, both physical and online, in support of World Polio Day. One of which is promoting access to Global Health Histories seminar 110: 'Polio, Immunization and Universal Health Coverage' which was held in September at the University of York.

At this seminar, Dr Thomas Abraham (former Director of the Public Health Media Programme in the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong), discussed the need for strengthened health systems to catalyse complete polio eradication. He also pointed out barriers to communicating this need to governments and donors. Dr David Heymann (Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (United Kingdom), Head of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House and former WHO Assistant Director-General) then compared different country contexts, such as those of India and Nigeria, highlighting the different political, social and epidemiological factors in these countries that have prevented complete polio eradication.

You can access this recording via the Centre for Global Health Histories' YouTube channel