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WHO hopes to eradicate polio in 2016

Monday January 18, 2016

A health worker marks the finger of a child after administering a polio vaccine at a polio booth in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh January 10, 2010. (REUTERS/Ajay Verma)

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 center 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.


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