“Congratulations my African brothers and sisters and all the dedicated, brave, tireless health workers who worked to end polio in Africa. One of the greatest public health achievements of all time. Although wild polio has been driven out of Africa, those investments will continue to bear fruit for many other health needs. Polio staff are an essential health workforce that can be quickly mobilized to serve the most vulnerable communities, including to beat COVID-19.” says WHO Director-General Dr Tedros
On 25 August 2020, the Africa Regional Certification Commission certified the WHO African Region as wild polio-free after four years without a case. With this historic milestone, five of the six WHO regions – representing over 90% of the world’s population – are now free of the wild poliovirus, moving the world closer to achieving global polio eradication.
Only two countries worldwide continue to see wild poliovirus transmission: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.
Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.
Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It has a population exceeding 212.2 million, including the world’s second-largest Muslim population. It has an area of 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles).
Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China to the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.