This World Immunization Week, let’s take a few moments to remember what our world really looked like before vaccines.
Fear of paralysis, severe illness, or death from polio and smallpox was a very real and pervasive reality for people worldwide within living memory.
In 1977, the world was close to finally being smallpox free. The number of people infected had dwindled to only one man; a young hospital cook and health worker from Merca, Somalia named Ali Maaow Malin.
Working with the polio programme opens up new opportunities for women and their communities.
Binta Tijjani works to eradicate polio in her native Kano state of Nigeria. She is one of the over 360 000 frontline workers dedicated to ending polio in her country, the vast majority of whom are women. Nigeria is one of only three countries in the world yet to stop poliovirus circulation, together with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In January, children in Raqqa city received polio vaccines for the first time in two years as families return to the devastated city.
From the front passenger seat of a small utility truck, Mahmoud Al-Sabr hangs out the window, looking for families and any child under five years old to be vaccinated against polio. As the car he travels in dodges rubble and remnants of buildings that once stood tall in Raqqa city, he flicks the ‘on’ switch for his megaphone.
A week in the life of Auta, a vaccine facilitator in Borno State
Forty-year-old Auta A. Kawu says the only thing predictable about working in the conflict-affected northeastern Nigerian State of Borno is its unpredictability.
“No two days in my week are alike,” he says.