Polio campaign receives additional funding in Angola
Jan 26, 2011
Angola has received a major financial boost from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to eliminate polio from some of the world's poorest developing countries, according to IRINnews.org.
Eradication of the disease has been a main goal of the Angolan government since the beginning of this century. Angola succeeded in eliminating the disease for three years, until a strain reappeared in Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, quickly spreading to Angolan citizens.
Immunization is essential to halt the spread of the disease, but due to war and a crippled economic system, Angola was only able to vaccinate 35 percent of newborns in 2009. Improving sanitation, water quality and increasing immunizations are the only surefire ways to contain the spread of the virus.
"There's been a more than 99 percent reduction in cases since 1988. This is the final push and you don't stop running a race a few hundred yards from the end," Tim Peterson of the Gates Foundation told the news source.
According to UNICEF, one in four Angolan children die before their fourth birthday and the country has the fourth highest child mortality rate.