Polio, that long dreaded disease, is almost but not quite eradicated. The global polio eradication campaign (a joint effort of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Rotary Foundation) was launched in 1988, with the target of ending polio by the year 2000. It has achieved remarkable success: by 1994, polio was officially declared eliminated in all the Americas. But now, in 2010, polio is still a threat in eight countries, and the campaign’s hopes for defeating polio by 2012 hang on success there. What does it take to wipe out an ancient scourge like polio? Vaccines and dogged monitoring and a drive to track down all cases and stop transmission.
A fascinating radio program put together by America Media Abroad (you can listen here) explores the ins and outs of religion and health in Africa: what’s happening, why it is sometimes controversial, and why religion is so important. Titled Africa’s Holy Healers, it vividly demonstrates how deeply religious institutions are engaged in health care.