Polio is on its last legs.

The disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of kids a year around the globe is now down to just a few dozen cases this year. “We are aiming to halt all transmission of wild polio virus next year,” says Peter Crowley, the head of UNICEF’s global efforts against polio.

If polio is stopped, it will be only the second human disease to be eliminated. Smallpox was the first — the last case was in 1977.

There’s reason to be optimistic that this gigantic feat of public health is within humanity’s grasp. The World Health Organization says polio transmission has stopped for the first time ever in Africa. Last month, Africa’s last bastion of polio — Nigeria — celebrated going an entire year without recording any new cases.

Next Year Could Mark The End Of Polio

Graphic: Jason Beaubien and Alyson Hurt/NPR

“I love Messi because he plays very well. When I am big, I will play like him.” Our colleagues from UNICEF Burundi came across Leo Messi fan 7-year-old Jean-Petit (second from right) playing football with his friends in the small village of Rushubi. Their ball was carefully handmade from plastic bags wrapped in rubber bands. Every child has the right to play!

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UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn visits Somalia, September 19–24, 1992 Audrey made her final field visit for UNICEF. She travelled to Somalia, which was caught in the middle of civil war and the worst drought in its history. From there, Audrey flew to Kenya, where many of the Somali refugees had travelled. In northern Kenya, she visited various refugee camps and emergency programmes. Finally, she flew to Nairobi, where she met with press to discuss her experiences.

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Hello everyone ! I’ve just seen a new Emergency Lessons video and they asked everyone to talk about their best friend at school, so: