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BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7319.952 (Published 27 October 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:952

West African states on verge of eliminating polio: Sixteen countries are renewing their commitment to eliminate poliomyelitis by launching a massive coordinated campaign aimed at reaching 80 million children with oral polio vaccine. Coordinated or “synchronised” polio national immunisation days are being held from 19 to 26 October across West Africa to find and immunise every child aged under 5.

Scotland explores idea of virtual medical school: Scotland's five medical schools are carrying out a £90000 ($135000) feasibility study into the idea of creating an international virtual medical school. It would seek to exploit new technologies such as “e-learning” and capitalise on the world reputation of Scottish medical education.

California makes emergency contraception available through pharmacies: The state of California has authorised pharmacists to dispense emergency contraceptives without a doctor's prescription. The new law becomes effective on 1 January 2002. California is following the example of Washington state, which made the emergency pill available through pharmacists in 1998.

Sixty one die in malaria outbreak: Sixty one people have died in a malaria outbreak in the Indian state of Gujarat. Officials attribute the spread to heavy monsoons after successive droughts. A month long drive against malaria is to be launched, which will include spraying with drugs to prevent mosquito breeding and door to door canvassing to educate people about malaria prevention.

Canadian chair in “peace through health studies” set up: McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, announced the first chair in peace through health studies during the first international conference on peace through health held at the university recently.

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