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Photo Essays

© WHO/J.Swan
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Keeping Up the Fight Against Polio in Jordan

While polio continues to circulate anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk. Countries where polio has been stopped, like Jordan, make constant efforts to keep children protected and polio at bay. In this photo series, see the tireless work done to carry out vaccination campaigns across the country.

© WHO/L.Dore
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Explaining Environmental Surveillance

Eradicating polio is a particularly unforgiving task. While the virus remains anywhere in the world, it has the potential to spread around the globe to any vulnerable child or community. As the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) zeros in on polio, it becomes more important than ever that every last virus is found and rapidly stopped in its tracks.

In this photo series, Dr Ousmane Diop describes how environmental surveillance is one of the innovations being used to find every last strain of poliovirus in every last corner of the globe.

© WHO/R. Tangermann
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Stopping circulating vaccine derived poliovirus in Lao

In a country like Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) where the landscape and diverse ethnic communities add to the challenge of reaching children with vaccines, communications and local knowledge are at the heart of the response. In November 2015, Dr Rudi Tangermann from the World Health Organization travelled to Lao People’s Democratic Republic to help fight the circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV) outbreak.
Join Dr Tangermann through this series of photographs as he explains what needs to be done to stop any type of poliovirus in its tracks.

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Tracing Every Last Poliovirus

Amina Ismail knows that it is not just vaccinating every last child, but also tracing every last poliovirus that will take us over the finishing line of one of the biggest public health achievements of our time: polio eradication. Amina is one of seven surveillance officers who work across Kenya with Ministry of Health officials as well as other partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to ensure that no poliovirus goes unnoticed.

Follow Amina’s daily routine through these photographs as she works in Tharaka Nithi County to strengthen surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), the outward symptom of polio. As the polio outbreak in the Horn of Africa comes to a close, the work of surveillance officers will is essential to make sure polio does not return unnoticed. In addition to this important task, staff like Amina contribute to surveillance for other diseases and help to strengthen routine immunization, showing that polio eradication can, and does, leave an important legacy.

© WHO/J.Jalali
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The People at the Heart of Polio Eradication in Afghanistan

Through this series of photographs, meet religious leaders, health care workers, volunteer vaccinators, programme monitors and parents as they play their unique roles in protecting children across the country from polio.

Ensuring that no child is missed during polio vaccination campaigns in Afghanistan is essential to securing a polio-free future for its children, and children around the world. More than 65,000 people across the country are volunteering and working towards this goal, such as these supervisors who are transporting polio vaccines for an upcoming campaign to the remote districts and villages of Kunar province.

© Gavi
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Understanding Surveillance

Surveillance is at the heart of the drive to protect children against polio. Click through these pictures to learn about the journey from child to laboratory, the people behind the process and the ways in which polio surveillance in Bangladesh is contributing to surveillance for other diseases.

© Gavi
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The Faces of a Vaccine Introduction

On March 21, Bangladesh introduced both the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) into its routine immunization system in an official ceremony at Shishu children’s hospital in Dhaka. Thousands of people - from government officials to doctors to health workers - have worked tirelessly in the journey from the preparatory work before the launch to reaching every child with the new vaccines.
Click through these photos to learn more about all the pieces of the puzzle that need to come together to complete the journey from political commitment to fully immunized child, and to meet the people behind the process.

Cornelia Walther
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Polio Eradication in DRC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is battling ongoing poliovirus transmission. Together with Pakistan and Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently on top of the worldwide polio chart, with 87 cases as of 22 November 2011.


October 2011 

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Wishing I could play - Children's art competition in Quetta

Balochistan has the highest number of cases in any province of Pakistan, largely centred on the Quetta area. This drawing shows a vaccination centre, with community members informing each other about polio vaccination at the centre. A polio-affected child with crutches watches children playing and wishes he could join their play.
Drawn by Fazeela, 6th grade

UNICEF/Chris Morgan
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Nigeria is on the last lap towards polio eradication with tremendous progress over the past two years but the battle is not yet over.

WHO/Thomas Moran
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One Village, Five lives

Little Tukur Bello (right) and his older brother Abdullah are from Zamfara State, Nigeria. They are both bright and alert and enjoy playing with each in the small and remote community in which they live. Tragically, both of them are paralyzed by polio.

WHO/Liliane Boualam
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Vaccinating five million children in Sudan

In 2006, Sudan held mass polio vaccination campaigns in a bid to protect its children from poliovirus after two cases were reported in neighbouring Chad. More than five million children were vaccinated over three days.


This photo essay illustrates the vaccination campaign in El Genina in the West Darfur region of Sudan, where insecurity, flooding and the displacement of people pose a singular challenge to vaccinators.

WHO/Liliane Boualam
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Controlling the outbreak in Yemen

On 25 February 2005, a Yemeni child contracted polio – the first case in the country since 1996. As soon as the first reports came in, Yemen carried out a nationwide immunization campaign to stop the virus spreading.

In 2005, 478 cases of polio were reported. This number dropped to one case in 2006, and no cases have been detected in Yemen since (as of March 2010). This photo essay follows one of the country’s vaccination campaigns in Sana’a, the capital city.

WHO/Thomas Moran and WHO/A. Jide
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Polio's Last Stand

Northern Nigeria is one of the last areas in the world with endemic poliovirus. Strong national and local leadership, however, has pushed the poliovirus into steep decline. In 2008, Nigeria led the world in polio cases with nearly 800 cases – by 2009 that number was halved.

This photo essay illustrates what it takes to vaccinate over 41 million children in a final push to rid Nigeria of polio forever.