Africa has been declared free from wild polio by the independent body, the Africa Regional Certification Commission. Polio affects children below five, sometimes resulting in irreversible paralysis. It can cause death in cases where breathing muscles are affected.
Thousands of children in Africa have been paralysed by the virus which is now only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is no known cure for the disease, but the polio vaccine protects children for life. Nigeria is the last country in Africa to be declared free from wild polio, having accounted for over half of all global cases less than a decade ago.
The vaccination campaign in Nigeria included a major effort to reach dangerous and remote places under threat from militant violence. Some health workers were killed in the process.