The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) says it will on Thursday, celebrate 25 years of being certified polio-free in the Caribbean and the wider Americas.

PAHO said only Pakistan and Afghanistan are now reporting cases, adding that the “the world is getting closer to eradication.”

PAHO said vaccination coverage in children under the age of one year, rose from 25 per cent in 1978 to more than 80 per cent in 1993 and at least eight out of 10 children were vaccinated, “and thanks to herd immunity from the oral vaccine, collective protection was guaranteed”.

Almost a decade later, in 1985, PAHO said it proposed the goal of interrupting the transmission of wild poliovirus in the Americas, including the Caribbean, to its member statesIn 1975, before there was widespread and systematic vaccination in the Americas, PAHO said nearly 6,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported in the region.

But by 1991, the last six cases were detected and three years later, PAHO said the disease was formally declared eliminated from the region by an international commission, adding that progress in vaccinating against polio has continued.

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