World Health Organization hopes to eradicate polio in 2016
In this Sunday, April 13, 2014 file photo, a health official administers a polio vaccine to a child in Kawo Kano, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba / AP Photo)
The Associated Press
Published Sunday, January 17, 2016 1:31PM EST
AMMAN, Jordan -- An official says the World Health Organization hopes to eradicate polio in 2016, after containing outbreaks in conflict-ridden Syria, Iraq and Somalia by immunizing millions of children over two years.
Christopher Maher, who runs the regional polio eradication program, says there's a chance to "finish polio forever" this year. He says the disease still occurs in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but that the caseload is dropping.
Maher spoke Sunday at the inauguration of a WHO regional centre for health emergencies and polio eradication in Jordan's capital, Amman.
The agency says it faces unprecedented demand for basic health services. It says half the region's 22 countries are in conflict or affected by it, and that the Middle East is home to the largest number of internally displaced people anywhere.