UN Foundation Announces Press Fellowship to Nigeria on Polio Eradication

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Journalists will explore polio eradication in one of the three countries where it remains endemic

The United Nations Foundation today announced a press fellowship to Nigeria focused on polio eradication during the week of July 22, 2019. Nigeria is one of only three remaining countries where polio has not been eliminated.

Five selected journalists will have a firsthand look into the front lines of eradicating one of the world’s most contagious diseases. Journalists will go on house visits with community health workers, witness routine immunization programs, and learn about emergency response. They will also hear directly from experts from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, including UNICEF and the World Health Organization, and local health officials.

Polio is a highly contagious disease that mostly affects children under the age of five. Due to comprehensive eradication efforts, including an effective vaccine, robust government investment, and dedicated health workers, polio has decreased dramatically worldwide. In 1998, polio impacted 350,000 people in 125 countries, and in 2018, just 33 cases of wild polio were reported in three countries, marking a 99.9% reduction in cases globally.

Despite this monumental progress, big challenges remain. Conflict and weak health systems threaten progress in the three countries where polio remains endemic – Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Eradication will require increased investment and significant funding.

“Polio could become the second disease ever eradicated in history” said Kate Dodson, Vice President of Global Health at the UN Foundation. “This is a critical part of the world’s global health story that will define how we respond to health threats for years to come.”

Through this fellowship, journalists will also explore how polio eradication can build the resilience of health systems through improved vaccine cold chains and trained health workers, leading to better infrastructure that can be used to fight other diseases like measles and Ebola.

This press fellowship is intended for journalists who are interested in global health issues, including vaccines and disease prevention; foreign policy; and the work of the United Nations. Journalists from all countries are welcome to apply.

The application deadline is May 13, 2019, and the fellowship will take place the week of July 22, 2019. To apply, click here. For more information, please contact Rachel Smidt (rsmidt(at)unfoundation.org) and Serena Jiwani (sjiwani(at)unfoundation.org).

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About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation acts as a strategic partner to help the United Nations mobilize the ideas, people, and resources it needs to drive global progress and tackle urgent challenges. We focus on issues at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and engage citizens who seek action. Founded in 1998 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner, the UN Foundation works with philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual partners. Learn more at: http://www.unfoundation.org.

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