NEW YORK, 8 February 2012 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow will travel to Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a 10-day trip starting Sunday to support a global push to make polio a part of the past.
The visit comes at a pivotal time in the global fight against polio. In January, it was announced that India for the first time reported no new cases of the crippling disease for a full year. Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan are among the last four polio endemic countries, down from 125 in 1988.
Farrow, who had polio as a child, carries the message that the world can learn from the experience of India and further strengthen the collective push for polio eradication – especially following outbreaks in countries that were once polio free, including Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Experts fear that gains made from a massive global health push – which has included 20 million volunteers immunizing 2.5 billion children since 1988 – could be lost, just as the world is on the brink of eradicating the disease.