Africa Declared free from Polio Virus

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Photo From: afro.who.int

Africa is free of wild Polio virus, the Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication declared on August 25, 2020.

“Today is a historic day for Africa. The African Regional Certification Commission for Polio eradication (ARCC) is pleased to announce that the Region has successfully met the certification criteria for wild polio eradication, with no cases of the wild poliovirus reported in the Region for four years,” said Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke, ARCC Chairperson.  

The declaration comes after an exhaustive, decades-long process of documentation and analysis of polio surveillance, immunization and laboratory capacity of the region’s 47 member states, which included conducting field verification visits to each country.

In 1996, African Heads of State committed to eradicate polio during the Thirty-Second Ordinary Session of the Organization of African Unity in Yaoundé, Cameroon. At the time, polio was paralyzing an estimated 75,000 children, annually, on the African continent.

In the same year, Nelson Mandela with the support of Rotary International jump started Africa’s commitment to polio eradication with the launch of the Kick Polio Out of Africa campaign.

The last case of wild polio virus in the region was detected in 2016 in Nigeria. Since 1996, polio eradication efforts have prevented up to 1.8 million children from crippling life-long paralysis and saved approximately 180,000 lives.

“This is a momentous milestone for Africa. Now future generations of African children can live free of wild polio,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “This historic achievement was only possible thanks to the leadership and commitment of governments, communities, global polio eradication partners and philanthropists. I pay special tribute to the frontline health workers and vaccinators, some of whom lost their lives, for this noble cause.”

“However, we must stay vigilant and keep up vaccination rates to avert a resurgence of the wild polio virus and address the continued threat of the vaccine-derived polio,” said Dr Moeti. READ FULL STATEMENT HERE https://www.afro.who.int/news/africa-eradicates-wild-poliovirus

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