India sets to celebrate a landmark achievement for global public health and the worldwide effort to eradicate polio. India, which once had the highest number of polio cases in the world, has not reported any new cases in the past three years.
Poor sanitation, densely populated areas and large numbers of people living in extreme poverty set a perfect stage for the spread of polio. Long recognised as one of the most difficult places to eradicate polio, India now stands as an example for how to mount a successful disease response effort under the most complex circumstances.
The former French colony in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Mozambique with a landmass 1.5 times that of Germany, but with a population of only 20 million, is now facing a huge humanitarian crisis, according to Natascha Paddison, acting Deputy Representative for UNICEF: “The country’s health and education systems are not really working, they are crumbling”, she says.
The conflict between the Colombian government and armed Marxist guerillas that began in the mid 1960s have left over 3 million people as refugees in their own country. Not often mentioned in the world media, these internally displaced people (IDPs) are a part of everyday life in the South-American country of Colombia. The IDPs often live deplorable conditions, in constant fear of arbitrary killings with no long-term solution in sight. This creates a precarious humanitarian situation.