• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > World

Africa Declared Free of Polio

  • Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa

    Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa | Photo: EFE

Published 25 August 2020

After four consecutive years of no delcared cases and mass vaccination campaigns for children, the Africa Regional Certification Commision for Polio Erradication (ARCC) declared Tuesday the entire African continent officially free of the wild poliovirus. 

The certification of this milestone announced on a videoconference organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), means that the 47 African countries in the WHO region have eradicated the viral disease.

"This is a historic moment for Africa," declared the director of the WHO for Africa, Mathsidiso Moeto.

RELATED: COVID-19 Pandemic Is Accelerating in Africa, WHO Warns

The last reported case in Africa was four years ago, in the northeast of Nigeria, a region devastated by the conflict against the Boko Haram jihadists. 
The WHO, in an official declaration before the web announcement, stated: "Thanks to the efforts deployed by governments, health workers and communities, more than 1.8 million children were saved."
Until discovering a vaccine for the illness in the 1950s, polio was endemic worldwide, and while rich countries have rapid access to the vaccine, Africa and Asia continued to be foci of infections. In 1988, the WHO counted 350,000 cases worldwide, and eight years later reported over 70,000 cases in Africa alone. 

Poliomyelitis, provoked by the wild poliovirus (PVS), is an acute infectious and contagious disease, mostly affecting children, which attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis. 

Yet thanks to an unusual sense of collective consciousness, along with dedicated financial resources ($19 billion over the past 30 years), only two countries worldwide present cases of the wild poliovirus, Afghanistan (29 in 2020), and Pakistan (58).  

Post with no comments.