The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on African countries to be vigilant and increase childhood vaccination campaigns, as there have been new outbreaks of polio.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, made this known in a message to commemorate this year’s World Polio Day, with the theme: “World Polio Day 2022 and Beyond: A healthier future for mothers and children.”
Stressing that it is critical for Africa to eradicate new cases of wild polio, as well as uphold its wild polio-free certification status.
In August 2020, the African region, especially Nigeria, was declared wild poliovirus free by the WHO.
However, WHO revealed that according to the most updated statistics for the continent, more than 250 cases of paralysis from polio have been recorded this year.
“That is 250 too many,” it said.
Moeti revealed that in a show of global solidarity, global leaders have committed $2.6 billion at the World Health Summit in Germany, to end polio.
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WHO Regional Director for Africa, stated that two types of polio specifically has been declared eradicated in the African region. However, we must fight to kick out this new strain.
In Moeti’s words;
“As many as 20 million children have been spared disability and are walking today. Two of the three strains of wild poliovirus (Type 2 and Type 3) have been certified as eradicated, and in 2020, the African Region was certified as free of indigenous wild polio.
“This progress is admirable, and has safeguarded millions of children and their families from this crippling virus.
“However, detections of new outbreaks, including in areas where polio was believed to have been eradicated, is a stark reminder that if we do not deliver on our promise to eradicate all forms of polio, everywhere, no child is safe anywhere.
“The Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) 2022-2026 Strategy to end polio lays out the pathway to finish this last mile.
“The significant global commitment to fund the strategy, at the 2022 World Health Summit on polio pledging event earlier this month was extremely encouraging.
“At the end of the first quarter of 2022, WHO announced the successful closure of 32 outbreaks in 10 countries.
“Yet, there are ongoing outbreaks that demand we stay vigilant and finish the job. This is critical for Africa to stamp out new cases of wild polio, as well as to safeguard our wild polio-free certification status.
“According to the most updated statistics for the continent, more than 250 cases of paralysis from polio have been recorded this year. That is 250 too many.
“To halt outbreaks of the circulating polio variant, 500 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, 95 per cent of these in Africa.”
Source: The Nation
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