WHO warns Africa against complacency in the fight against polio

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Chika Onyesi

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The World Health Organization says there is no time for complacency in the fight against polio, despite the progressive drop in the number of cases since 2016 to 2018.
According to the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Africa has made tremendous progress towards polio eradication as it has been more than two years since the last case of wild poliovirus was reported.
‘‘As late as 2012, the Region accounted for more than half of the global polio burden, but polio cases have dropped steadily from 128 cases in 2012, to 4 cases in 2016 to 0 cases in 2017 and 2018.’’
Dr. Moeti tasked the region to recommit to continually strengthen and maintain surveillance whether or not a new case of polio is discovered.
‘‘I call upon all Member States to implement containment of polioviruses and potential polioviruses infectious materials according to the global action plan (GAP III), in a timely manner, to avoid any leakage of polioviruses into the environment and populations which could result in catastrophic outbreaks and reverse the gains towards eradication.’’
Meanwhile the African region has confirmed the emergence of a vaccine-derived poliovirus   in some member states and attributed the spread to a weak routine immunization services delivery.
But the WHO has assured all member states of its dedicated support, it however insists that eradication of polio requires political commitment and adequate resources from affected member states.

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