Africa and Pakistan are now battling outbreaks of polio, threatening the extraordinary progress the world has made in fighting the almost-extinct disease. In the Horn of Africa, there are now 121 reported polio cases. Last year, there were 223 worldwide.
Siddharth Chatterjee has served as the chief diplomat, head of strategic partnerships and international relations at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the world’s largest humanitarian network, since June 2011.
It came as no surprise to Dr Zulfikar Ahmad Bhutta, a leading child expert at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, that an outbreak of measles has claimed the lives of more than 300 children in Pakistan. "The tragedy was in the offing," he said, putting the blame squarely on the abysmally low coverage of routine immunisation against childhood diseases.
A nurse working in a remote clinic in Mueda, a small town in northern Mozambique’s Makonde Plateau, receives a shipment of vaccines from the national health department. Using special software on her mobile phone, she sends out a mass text message to alert mothers in the area about the availability of immunisations.
It was early July 2004, and Darfur was looking like a war zone - massive human displacements of an estimated one million people
, ongoing skirmishes, inclement weather, a parched landscape due to the recurring droughts, and sheer misery everywhere.