John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Response to Polio outbreak in the Lake Chad Basin

by John Campbell
A girl is seen at a polio immunization health center in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, August 29, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

The public reappearance of polio in northeast Nigeria is a disappointment. Nigeria had been thought to be free of polio for two years. The recent cases of paralysis caused by polio are likely the result of ongoing, undetected transmission rather than a new introduction of the disease from elsewhere. The small numbers of paralysis probably masks the extent of the presence of the disease. Only about one in two hundred polio cases results in paralysis. Polio would appear to remain present in areas formerly under control of Boko Haram, which is opposed to vaccination and western medicine in general. Read more »