100 million African children vaccinated against polio in one year: WHO

No fewer than 100 million African children have been vaccinated against polio in the past one year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said though COVID-19 had threatened the success of polio vaccination, it was possible to overcome the final hurdles.

Ms Moeti, in a statement, stated that WHO had the know-how, but needed to be backed by committed resources to reach all under-vaccinated communities.

The polio programme has a history of supporting the response to emerging health threats in the region, including Ebola and COVID-19, and half of polio surge staff are currently helping countries with COVID-19 surveillance, contact tracing and community engagement.

According to WHO, African states overseen by its African Regional Office, remained committed to ending all remaining forms of polio.

The Regional Office has also presented a scorecard to track progress towards the eradication of the virus as Africa was certified free of wild poliovirus one year ago, after four years without a case.

However, outbreaks of a vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) is spreading in African communities where too few children have received the polio vaccine.

cVDPV is a weakened strain of the virus that has changed over time and behaves more like the naturally occurring poliovirus.Since 2018, 23 African countries have experienced outbreaks and more than half of the 1071 global cVDPV cases were recorded in Africa.

According to WHO, cases increased in 2020 partly because of disruptions to polio vaccination campaigns caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.