Polio’s Last Bastions

Nigeria is one of only three countries – along with Afghanistan and Pakistan – that remains blighted by polio. But, with adequate funding, solid infrastructure, and genuine commitment from the country’s leaders, every child in Nigeria could be immunized against the disease.

LAGOS – When I was a boy, growing up in Kano in northern Nigeria, my Koranic teacher was totally crippled from the waist down. A boy with whom I grew up could not use his legs. That was 50 years ago, and I did not know that it was polio. Such things were just a fact of life in Nigeria. At the time, I never imagined that all of this damage could have been prevented with an easily administered vaccination – that, had these people been immunized, they would have been spared paralysis.