People & Power investigates the global war against polio.
Filmmaker Sorious Samura takes us to the frontline of the global war against the crippling disease polio, where hopes for a final eradication of the scourge are being undermined by an explosive and deadly new outbreak in Congo-Brazzaville.
Polio is on the verge of eradication. Since 1988, years of unprecedented success by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has seen the number of cases around the world decrease by 99 per, but the goal to guarantee the cessation of all ‘re-established poliovirus transmissions by the end of 2010’ has failed.
The final one per cent is proving hard to beat. Strains of the virus linger in parts of the developing world, and localised epidemics can still strike unexpectedly.
Ten years ago, Congo-Brazzaville thought it had seen the last of polio but since last October, 220 people have died, and a further 368 people are suffering from paralysis.
As a regional emergency response operation battles to contain the crisis, Sorious journeys to its epicentre, the coastal city of Pointe-Noire to meet the most recent victims.
What will it take to stamp out polio entirely? With the high risk of further spread, Sorious highlights the desperate need to find a solution if dreams of a polio-free world are to be realised.