Do you remember what it was like growing up in the 1950s and 1960s when polio was rife? Can you recall iron lungs and calipers in the classroom? We can.

Thankfully the virus has been eliminated in the UK since the last century. However, in other countries the challenge of vaccinating every child has been harder due to more dispersed populations, tricky terrains across which vaccinators need to travel and security issues.

Despite these obstacles, this week marks one year that Africa is polio-free with no new reported cases of the wild polio virus. This is a fantastic step towards the end goal of wiping out polio globally, which will be only the second disease to be eradicated from the world after smallpox.

This progress is a result of unprecedented levels of global cooperation, from governments to NGOs and remarkable volunteers on the ground. For example local health workers, like Halima, a UNICEF community organiser in the troubled north-eastern state of Kano, Nigeria. A 37-year old mother of six, Halima earned the nickname ‘Maman Polio’ by bringing the vaccine and polio awareness to the hardest children of all to reach.

However the job is far from done. The WHO requires three consecutive years of no new cases of polio before declaring a region polio-free. With a final collective effort this is attainable in the few countries where the disease remains.

That’s why we are asking you to sign up to the One Last Push campaign. All we ask is sixty seconds of your time to sign our polio promise. It doesn’t involve donating any money – we’re collecting signatures to encourage the UK government to keep doing all they can to support this global fight. Adding your name helps ensure they will continue collaborating with other governments and organizations to make the dream of a polio-free Africa a reality.

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