Almost 100 million African children have been vaccinated against polio since July 2020, after activities were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although, in Uganda up to 2million children are estimated to have missed polio vaccination.
from the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region have committed to
ending all remaining forms of polio. The commitments came at the end of a three-day
annual Health Conference where African Health Ministers and other decision
makes set their year’s health agenda.
While the African Region was certified free of wild poliovirus one year ago
following four years without a case, outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived
poliovirus (cVDPV) continues to spread.
in communities where not enough children have received the polio vaccine.
the latest country to record an outbreak with others like Kenya, DR Congo and
South Sudan recording cases last year. WHO says cases increased last year in part because of disruptions to polio
vaccination campaigns caused by COVID-19. Since 2018,
23 countries in the region have experienced outbreaks and more than half of the
global 1071 cVDPV cases were recorded in Africa.
“As Chair of the African Union, I am determined
to work with other countries to protect the gains of our monumental efforts
against polio and finish the job against all forms of this disease in Africa.
Only then, we will be able to say we delivered on our promise of a safer,
healthier future for all our children,” said H.E. Félix Tshisekedi, President
of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the Regional Committee, countries discussed how they will begin implementing
the new Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) 2022-2026 Strategy that was
launched in June to urgently stop the spread of cVDPVs.
The tools and tactics outlined in the Strategy to stop outbreaks include
improving the speed and quality of outbreak response, further integrating polio
campaigns with the delivery of essential health services and routine
immunization to reach children who have never been vaccinated, help build trust
with communities and improve uptake of the polio vaccine.
At the meeting, a scorecard was presented which countries will use to track
indicators for implementation of timely, high-quality polio outbreak response
and vaccination which ministers committed that they will be regularly reviewing
“Our success in ending wild poliovirus in the region shows what is possible
when we work together with the urgency. COVID-19 has threatened this triumph as
governments worked hard to limit the spread of COVID-19, pausing some
campaigns. However, we cannot waver, and with renewed vigour, we can overcome
the final hurdles that jeopardize our success”, said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO
Regional Director for Africa in her remarks.
Almost 100 million African children have been vaccinated against polio since
July 2020, after activities, were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although,
in Uganda, up to 2million children are estimated to have missed polio
vaccination against the type 2 virus.