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Africa Declared Wild Poliovirus Free, But Polio Threat Remains

New Delhi: Africa has been declared free from wild poliovirus. The milestone comes 4 years after Nigeria – the final polio-endemic nation in Africa – recorded its closing case of untamed poliovirus.

“Rotary International and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) are proud to announce a historic public health achievement as the World Health Organization’s African region is now certified wild poliovirus-free,” stated Rotary Worldwide President Holger Knaack.

Over the course of the trouble, 9 billion dosages of oral polio vaccine have been administered by the impartial physique and, lots of of hundreds of thousands of youngsters have been immunised.

Therefore, 1.eight million instances of untamed poliovirus have been averted all through the area.

“In the face of a pandemic, the world has had very little good news to celebrate in global health this year and the challenges ahead are formidable,” stated Knaack.

The highway to the African area’s wild poliovirus-free certification has been paved by the dedication of well being staff — primarily ladies, who reached youngsters with the polio vaccine; those that discovered options for reaching youngsters in areas rife with battle and insecurity; these main surveillance actions to check instances of paralysis and verify sewage for the virus, and the management of all 47 nations within the African area.

“We have been painstakingly working toward this day since 1996, when Rotary and its GPEI partners first joined with Nelson Mandela to mobilize leaders across the continent to commit to reaching every child with the polio vaccine,” stated Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria Nationwide PolioPlus Committee.

Funsho added: “We still have important work to do, but this achievement shows that with collaboration, and political and financial support, the global eradication of polio is possible.”

Deepak Kapur, Chairman, Rotary Worldwide’s India Nationwide PolioPlus Committee, added: “With this announcement, five out of the six World Health Organization (WHO) regions are now wild polio-free, serving as much-needed encouragement for the hundreds of thousands of frontline health workers who have been fighting tirelessly to keep children worldwide safe and immunized against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases, even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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