Africa makes major strides in the eradication of polio – No cases recorded in 3 years – WHO
Africa passed a milestone last week, by making it to three years with no case of wild polio virus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
This three year landmark sets in motion a comprehensive evaluation process by the Africa Regional Certification Commission to determine if the entire WHO African Region of 47 countries indeed can be declared to have eradicated wild polivirus, which is expected (certification) in early 2020.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said they are confident that soon they will trumpeting the certification that countries have once and for all, kicked polio out of Africa.
“The path to eradicating polio in Africa a monumental effort of multinational coordination on an unprecedented scale, providing vaccinations to hundreds of millions of children and conducting immunization campaigns in some of the most remote locations in the world, with vigilance and exhaustive surveillance to timely detect outbreaks, including among people on the move,” explained Moeti.
She highlighted that these successes would not have been possible without the incredible perseverance of countries and partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiatives who have mobilised the financial and technical resources to get the job done. “It has involved men and women volunteering in the thousands, sometimes putting themselves in harm’s way, some even sacrificing their life for this work,” added Moeti.
Moeti expressed that this August’s milestone on wild polio is a positive sign of progress across the continent, but that their work is not done.
“We must remain vigilant in our immunization and surveillance efforts, and every country must continue to ensure that it is closely looking for the virus and reaching every child with vaccines,” she concluded.
WHO explained that if the evaluation process proves that wild virus is gone, Africa will join four of the WHO regions, the Americas, the Western Pacific, Europe and South-East Asia, in holding this distinction.