Quitting polio is one of the goals set by African countries. At the 71st annual meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, which ended on Thursday 26 August, the Continent’s Minister of Health held a video conference on the issue.
If this year the continent celebrates the first anniversary of the absence of the wild polio virus, the pathogen responsible for polio, Africa is not yet completely free of the virus.
Because, in fact, about the oral polio vaccine decreased 99% of polio cases, vaccine strain derivatives are still reported today and it is now on these derivatives that the fight for eradication of the disease is focused. A struggle undermined by Covid-19, as explained by Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa.
“This triumph over polio is threatened by Covid-19, as governments work hard to limit its spread. Polio vaccination campaigns have been reversed. Since 2018, 23 African countries have experienced outbreaks of polio from vaccines. We must not allow any form of polio to slip through the cracks in our immunization shield and take hold again, ”she emphasizes.
“Appeal to African Governments” For Dr Tunji Funsho, chair of the Rotary National PolioPlus Committee, there is no question of giving up. For him, the success lies in the ability of African states to invest more in polio control programs.
“I would like to appeal to African governments to continue to support this program, to increase funding for primary health care so that polio immunization is scaled up. I call on African governments to gradually take responsibility for this program, both financially and in terms of providing the necessary human and material resources. ”
At this annual meeting, health ministers promised to maintain polio as a health priority.
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