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How Africa Eradicated Polio

The latest WHO region to be certified polio free is Africa. The region was certified on 25 August 2020. The certification came four years after the last case of poliovirus on the continent. In 1996 African heads of state resolved to stamp polio out of Africa. Then South African President Nelson Mandela launched the “Kick Polio out of Africa” campaign. Thereafter, all-of-society collaborations supporting widespread polio vaccination sprang up across African countries. These involved government departments, the private sector, the civil society, and the community at large to ensure eradication of polio from the continent. Within national governments in Africa, public service departments worked across portfolio boundaries, formally and informally, to achieve the shared goal of polio eradication. The polio eradication programme in Africa directly combated a severe debilitating disease. But it also provided a platform for broader healthcare services on the continent. Polio eradication created renewed demand for vaccination services and innovative ways to deliver healthcare services.