Anadolu Agency | getty images

De politiek achter de uitroeiing van Polio

CAMBRIDGE – Nog maar enkele jaren geleden leek de mondiale campagne om polio uit te roeien tot stilstand gekomen. Na tientallen jaren van uitroeiingsinspanningen bleef het virus koppig endemisch in Pakistan, Afghanistan, en Nigeria. Toen werd in 2013 en 2014 ontdekt dat het was teruggekeerd naar zeven eerder poliovrije landen in Afrika en het Midden-Oosten, wat de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) ertoe bewoog om de heropleving van de ziekte te verklaren tot een ‘noodsituatie qua volksgezondheid van internationale zorg.’

Ondanks deze recidive is de wereld vandaag dichter bij het uitroeien van polio dan ooit. In 2015 waren er slechts 74 nieuwe gevallen van de ziekte, 80% minder dan het jaar daarvoor en het laagste jaartotaal ooit. En alle gevallen waren geconcentreerd in slechts twee landen: 54 in Pakistan en 20 in Afghanistan. Bovendien is het meer dan anderhalf jaar geleden dat het virus voor het laatst in Afrika werd vastgesteld.

De redenen achter deze opmerkelijke wending zijn leerzaam, en illustreren de uitdagingen waar gezondheidswerkers mee te maken hebben en de beste manieren om deze te overkomen.

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