Health,  parenting,  Travel

Ten Facts About World Polio Day #WorldPolioDay

This week as we mark World Polio Day I wanted to share a few facts about polio and the vaccine that saves lives. Just one week ago I was in Zambia doing a fellowship with the UN Foundation’s global vaccine program called Shot @ Life. On our last day in Livingstone, we visited the Mahatma Gandhi clinic where moms and dads brought their babies to receive the appropriate vaccines needed for their age group. Many babies were receiving the oral polio vaccine, as shown below. It’s the type of global vaccination initiative that Shot@Life supports in many countries around the world.


The time we spent in Zambia was remarkable and educational. I was incredibly impressed with some of the innovative ways businesses and health care providers are delivering quality health care throughout the country. I will share some of those stories throughout the next month. In Zambia, we visited clinic after clinic and a hospital as well. It was extremely apparent that despite numerous obstacles to getting vaccinated in Zambia, people are well educated regarding vaccines and the value of health care. In fact, many moms will walk up to 8 kilometres just to get their child vaccinated.

October 24th is World Polio Day. It’s a chance to recognize that we have the potential globally to eradicate polio. But we need to continue advocating with politicians and policymakers to help make a polio free world a reality for children and families. For more information about how to get involved visit:


Ten Facts About World Polio Day

  1. The polio vaccine is a relatively new vaccine and it is also one of the biggest breakthroughs of the twentieth century.
  2. Jonas Salk led a team to develop the poliomyelitis vaccine in 1952.
  3. At its worst, the world saw 350,000 cases of polio a year.
  4. Polio is now endemic only in 3 countries – Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  5. India is the most recent country to have been declared polio free.
  6. In 2015 there were only 72 cases of polio reported worldwide. This year so far only about 30 cases have been reported.
  7. Polio causes fever, fatigue, vomiting, painful limbs and occasional paralysis. Once a child is paralyzed by polio it is for life. There is no cure. One in every 200 people infected with polio will be paralyzed. Of the people who are paralyzed 5 to 10 % die when their breathing muscles are paralyzed by the virus.
  8. We are on the brink of eradicating polio forever, just as small pox was eradicated and officially declared eradicated by the World Health Assembly in 1980 after a lengthy campaign of education, vaccination and surveillance.
  9. Until polio is eliminated worldwide all countries are at risk.
  10. Polio mainly affects children under 5.




World Polio Day – End Polio Now

I travelled with The UN Foundation’s Shot@Life global childhood vaccine program to Zambia this month and am honoured to have received the fellowship with Shot@Life. I care deeply about global vaccines and the health of children and families worldwide. If you are interested in becoming more involved in advocating for global access to life-saving vaccines and eradication of polio you can and should sign up to be part of the Shot@Life community. Get involved with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as well.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Jennifer Van Huss

    What an amazing experience! Its hard to believe how so many people avoid vaccinations in this country where they are so readily available and other countries like the one you visited would pray for it!

  • Amanda

    I feel so dumb not knowing that there was a World Polio Day. We are all so lucky to have access to vaccines that can protect us from this horrible disease. It saddens me that people refuse the vaccine without knowing how lucky they are to have access to life saving medicine.

  • Chrystal | Nevermore Lane

    You really don’t read to much about Polio anymore since there really isn’t a lot of cases. We are so lucky today to vaccines to help with so many diseases. It is a shame though that there are those who cannot afford the access to many of them.

  • Jay Simms

    It’s so weird to think of all the leaps we have made in medical sciences over the past 50 years. I had no idea there was a World Polio Day. Thank you for educating me a little!

  • Melissa Dixon

    IT amazes me that there is still an epidemic in other countries when so many in our country have access to the vaccine and refuse it. It seems like we should be able to get them the vaccine as well.

  • Kathy

    I didn’t know that they had a day for this. I’m so glad they do though. It’s always great to spread awareness about something!

  • Gabriel

    My father had polio when he was a kid and his and my grandma’s stories about it always made me glad that I was vaccinated. So important to make this happen worldwide.

  • Michele D

    I’ve never heard of it either. But it’s so sad that many of these people become sick and there is nothing they can do about it. Just sad. Makes us appreciate what we have in our country.

  • Sara

    This is such an important post! Combatting polio is so simple, we just need to get the easy solutions to other countries. I hope that more people help spread the word and that money will be raised to keep polio from growing in other companies.