In 2012, over half of the world's polio cases were in Nigeria.
But then something amazing happened.
This year, they've had ... zero.
A substantial drop to zero cases of polio in 2015. You do the math. That's incredible.
As the country celebrates going an entire year without a single case of the crippling disease, the entire continent of Africa can too. Nigeria is the last of the African countries to suffer from it. That's huge! And it's huge for all of us — including you.
Think of the progress made: It wasn't that long ago polio was everywhere — including the U.S. — crippling hundreds of thousands of kids a year.
If you grew up in the U.S. in the 1950s, you lived in fear of this horrible disease cutting your healthy childhood short. Even as recently as 1988, polio was a devastating problem in 128 countries.
In 2014, there were three countries that hadn't eliminated polio: Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Go ahead and cross Nigeria off that list.
How in the heck did they manage to get rid of it?
It wasn't magic, and it didn't come easy. Between misinformation, politics, and violence, there have been some major roadblocks in the past years.
It turns out when you have the resources and agree to work together, powerful things can happen — and more kids get a chance at a healthy life.
A recent joint effort between the Nigerian government, community members, religious leaders, and thousands of health workers with an awesome vaccination program helped kick polio to the curb.
Hopefully for good.
Vaccination programs and close monitoring helped make polio disappear in so many countries — and now in Nigeria too. We're on our way to completely eradicating it globally because of them.
But since the disease is contagious and can spread so fast, it'll take two more years of no polio cases in Nigeria for it to be declared completely polio-free. But hey, you gotta start somewhere. Cheers to Nigeria!
Next up: Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is work to be done — but it can be done.
There are entire generations of people who have never even had to consider polio.
There are people who have never known anyone with the disease or had to fear it themselves. They might not even understand the damage its caused all over the world — or how it works. (Ask Google or your grandma).
I can't wait until no one in the world has to think about polio anymore.