In 2012, out of the 14.3 million children under the age of one covered under routine immunization in all 21 ESA countries, 13 per cent, or 1.8 million, were left unprotected.
Nearly 90 per cent of all un-immunized children live in nine countries – Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The Horn of Africa had been polio-free for years, but with the confirmation of a two-year old child infected with the virus in Somalia in May 2013, that record no longer holds.
To date, some 200 children and adults have been affected, mainly in Somalia, and also Kenya and Ethiopia. The risk of the virus continuing to spread remains high as close to one million children, most of them in Somalia, have never been immunized or have not received the required number of doses.
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