Polio Eradication Initiative

Out-running polio: an ultra-marathon runner’s dedication

Ala Baydoun dedicates her ultra-marathon run in Jordan to raise awareness in the final fight against polio


22 January 2018 – It’s just after 6am on a Friday morning in Petra, one of Jordan’s ancient southern cities. Ala Baydoun ties her shoe laces with an extra secure knot as she prepares for what is no normal run. It’s the first day of her weekend and Ala will run for 100km to Wadi Rum in an Ultra Marathon, an effort that she’s dedicated to polio eradication.

Taking her position at the starting line, she looks calm and colected, despite the high altitude and the 8 km of hilly terrain immediately ahead of her.

After a grueling 14-hour run, through the desert, Ala crosses the finish line in second place and cuts more than 2 hours off her personal best time.

“I was injured and wasn’t sure I would finish the race, but I beat my time from last race! As runners we are so cautious of seconds, so to say that I cut 2 hours off is a big deal.”

Ala works for the World Health Organization and says that dedicating the run to ‘end polio’ was important to her.

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Indicators and information

Wild polio cases by country in the Region for 2017–2018




Afghanistan 14 14




Total 2017



2018 (with data up to 16/09/2018)


14 14


4 4

Total 2018

18 18

Polio Fax issues

Middle East Polio Technical Bulletin

Surveillance Indicators

Supplementary Immunization Activities

Routine immunization
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