More than five million children were vaccinated against polio in Niger last month in a drive that was broadened to include children in refugee camps whose parents had fled the Boko Haram insurgency in neighboring Nigeria.
In a statement the UN now says a total of 5,317,453 children under five years old were vaccinated against polio adding that the initial target was 4.5 million.
Nearly 42,000 children in refugee camps in the Lake Chad region were also included in the public health campaign.
Lake Chad forms the border between Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, which have all experienced Boko Haram attacks.
Polio, which has no cure and it can only be prevented through immunisation, is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children and can result in permanent paralysis.
South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela launched a campaign to “Kick Polio out of Africa” 20 years ago.
At that time every country on the continent had polio cases and more than 75,000 children were paralyzed for life every year, according to UN officials.