Heath care workers and volunteers in Africa began an effort to eradicate polio in west and central Africa over the weekend.
The joint effort between the Red Cross and the United Nations will vaccinate 85 million children when 400,000 workers go door-to-door orally vaccinating all children under the age of five, said BBC News.
The plan is modeled after efforts in Nigeria which have been successful in nearly eradicating the disease from the country, said Reuters Africa. About 80% of Nigerian children have been vaccinated, and the number of cases and since collapsed.
The virus spreads in areas with poor sanitation and affects the nervous system of the host, often causing paralysis, explained Reuters Africa.
Religious groups in Africa are supporting the mass vaccination, and analysts are optimistic that the efforts will prove to be successful in lowering the transmission of the virus, said BBC.