In 1988 the World Health Organization established a global initiative to eliminate polio everywhere in the world by 2005 (beautifully documented in the photographs of Sebastião Salgado). This initiative was modeled after a similar one that successfully eradicated smallpox globally. For a long time, the anti-polio program seemed to work wonderfully. One of the three types of the disease was apparently eliminated: Wild forms of the type 2 polio virus have not been detected anywhere in the world in the last six years, although during this period a few cases of polio occurred in India as a result of contamination of some oral vaccine with a laboratory strain of virulent type 2 virus.
However, the combination of poverty, civil disorder, war, and religious manipulation has stymied the anti-polio initiative. I'm sorry to report that there are more cases of polio worldwide and more countries reporting polio cases this year than in the last few years.