Vaccination teams are aiming to reach every child under five in 13 countries from Mauritania to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said on Friday.
Fighting between jihadist group Boko Haram and the Nigerian army has caused mass displacement, raising fears the polio outbreak could spread across borders and throughout the region.
After two years in which polio appeared beaten in Africa, Nigeria reported four cases in August, casting a shadow over global eradication hopes, and driving the GPEI to launch one of the largest synchronized vaccination campaigns on the continent.
“The goal is to ensure polio has nowhere to hide,” GPEI director Michel Zaffran told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“We won’t reach every child – we are hoping for at least 90 percent coverage – but we will vaccinate as many as possible to ensure that the virus cannot circulate in any given community.”
The polio virus, which …