Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Our Global Voices Posts

CDC Maintains Vigilance to Eradicate Polio in Northern Nigeria

Posted on by Chimeremma Denis Nnadi, MD, MPH, PhD
Chimeremma Denis Nnadi, MD, MPH, PhD Epidemiologist in the Polio Eradication Branch of the Global Immunization Division

Vaccines save lives. Today, millions of children have a chance at surviving and living healthy, productive thanks to the introduction and increasingly widespread use of vaccines against major diseases that cripple and kill children over the last few decades. These diseases include polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, influenza and measles.

The essence of our work could be seen in CDC’s commitment to eradicate polio and reduce other vaccine-preventable diseases among children in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. More children are surviving and the country is closer than ever to eradicating polio. I am fortunate to be part of the Global Immunization team here at the CDC contributing to this important work. As a member of the coordination team, I served many roles – some in the frontline, but mostly behind the scenes. During our time in Nigeria, CDC staffers and partners helped troubleshoot immunization activities, and educate caregivers to gain a better understanding of the immunization process, participated in logistics planning, enhanced community engagement, and strengthened health camps that provide other basic health care services, including vitamin supplements. The most important element of the work, however, comes in the evening. When others are taking the time to unwind, thousands of polio workers are reviewing their activities from the day and take those lessons learned to determine how to better implement their plans for the next day.

But significant challenges remain.image5

In August of 2016, after two years without a reported case, there were reports of four new polio cases in Northeast Nigeria’s Borno State. Insurgency-related conflicts in this region caused the destruction of the health care system, making basic health care services, including access to life-saving vaccines, unobtainable. Humanitarian emergencies led to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes and disrupted immunization activities. Unfortunately, for the children left in areas controlled by insurgents, polio workers have great difficulty accessing and vaccinating them. On occasion, the Nigeria Polio program works with the military to access security-compromised areas, and in extreme cases, determines how to provide remote support for the few members who had access to conflict-affected regions and develops alternative strategies to reach the children in these regions.

The good news is that access to these children is gradually improving. We are learning how to potentially improve vaccination in conflict settings such as Borno. CDC’s contribution to the polio eradication effort in Nigeria yielded substantial results thanks to its partnerships with the Nigerian government and other agencies. As a result, millions of children in cities, towns and villages – even those in places that had never been reached by health workers – received vaccines that protect them from polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases. I know that, together with other global health and humanitarian agencies, we will continue finding ways to reach and vaccinate children in conflict-affected regions and elsewhere until polio is eradicated.

Read more in this week’s MMWR.

Related Links

Continued Endemic Wild Poliovirus Transmission in Security-Compromised Areas — Nigeria, 2016

Global Immunization

Polio Eradication

Posted on by Chimeremma Denis Nnadi, MD, MPH, PhDLeave a commentTags , , ,

Global Rapid Responders – Our Boots on the Ground Defense

Because our world is more connected than ever, a disease threat that occurs anywhere can very quickly spread across boundaries and become a threat to people worldwide. New microbes are emerging and spreading, drug resistance is rising, and limited biosafety and security measures in laboratories around the world make the intentional or unintentional release of Read More >

Posted on by Ashley Greiner, MD, MPHLeave a comment

The Stakes are High, the Goal the Same – Overcome Cancer

As a pediatric oncologist, I have sat across from a family and told them the heart wrenching news that their child has cancer. Many families tell me later that this was the worst day of their lives. Although I was the bearer of bad news, I had a strong oncology training, a collaborative team of Read More >

Posted on by Elizabeth Van Dyne, MD, MPH EIS OfficerLeave a commentTags ,

Protecting newborns from infection in healthcare settings

Each year, a staggering 3.6 million babies globally will die within the first four weeks of life. Tweet This As a mother, the safety of my baby is of utmost importance to me. Yet each year, a staggering 3.6 million babies globally will die within the first four weeks of life. Tragically, many of these Read More >

Posted on by Rachel Smith, Medical Epidemiologist2 CommentsTags , , , , , , ,

The Case for Global Health Security

Finding and stopping disease outbreaks at the earliest possible moment no matter where they emerge is important: to reduce illness and death, increase national security, and maintain economic gains made over the previous decades. Disease threats, after all, require only the smallest opening to take root and spread. In today’s tightly connected world a disease Read More >

Posted on by Maureen BarteeLeave a commentTags , , , , , ,

CDC Continues the Fight Against Polio

In 1988, when CDC joined three other partners to launch the ambitious Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the world was a much different and, measured by polio’s reach, dangerous place. Back then, polio existed in more than 125 countries and it paralyzed 350,000 children that year. Thanks to GPEI and the tireless work of its Read More >

Posted on by Rebecca Martin, PhD, Director, Center for Global HealthLeave a commentTags , , , , , , , , ,

Innovation to Drive Impact: Reaching the Hardest to Reach

A version of this blog also appeared on As we mark World AIDS Day, we reflect on how far we’ve come and acknowledge the profound challenges that still remain. The scientific progress we’ve made since the first cases of AIDS that appeared more than 35 years ago has been nothing short of remarkable. The Read More >

Posted on by Shannon Hader, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TBLeave a commentTags

World AIDS Day 2016 Leadership Statement

  Below is a quote by Shannon Hader, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB: “On this World AIDS Day, we reflect upon the all too many lives—nearly 35 million–that have been lost since the first days of the epidemic, celebrate the leadership that has driven a major expansion of quality Read More >

Posted on by Shannon Hader, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TBLeave a commentTags ,

INSPIRED to End Violence Against Women and Children

November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. More than 1 billion children—half of all the children in the world—are victims of violence every year. And in many countries, one in four girls experience sexual violence before the age of eighteen. Every child has the right to grow Read More >

Posted on by Dr. Deb Houry, Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and ControlLeave a commentTags , , , , , ,

Choose the Road to Zero Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths

  The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims takes place every third Sunday in November. It serves as a way to: Remember the millions of people killed and injured in road crashes as well as their families, friends and those affected; Pay tribute to the dedicated emergency responders, police and medical professionals who deal Read More >

Posted on by Erin K. Sauber-Schatz, PhD, MPHLeave a comment