The World Health Organization says the polio-free Africa

The World Health Organization says the polio-free Africa

No one will ever know the identity of thousands of African children who were not killed or paralyzed by polio this year. They would have been difficult, no matter to keep track of what is in normal times, would Thousands Following last year and thousands of long generation ago, and back to a path of suffering and death. Instead, no African children were previously supported by polio this year or last year or the year. It ‘was in 2016 that the last case of wild, circulating polio was in Nigeria, the last country recorded 54-nation in Africa, where the disease was endemic. And with a required waiting period passed today no more cases several years, he said today the World Health Organization has officially across Africa polio-free. A disease that was endemic at the end of 1980 in 125 countries and claims 350,000 children a year, now I have only two remaining places, Pakistan and Afghanistan run to the ground where you have it in 2020 was a collective 102 cases, ie 102 too many, but there is no dispute the scope of the WHO. “Today’s victory over the wild poliovirus in the African region is a testament to what can happen when the partners to achieve the goal by a wide variety of sectors in global health,” said John Hewko, General Secretary and CEO of Rotary International. “[E ‘] something that the world can and must engage in these turbulent times.” It ‘been Rotary, a nonprofit international service that has affected polio in 1988 with the introduction of the Global Eradication Initiative (GPEI) of the polio endgame. The program taught the power of Rotary clubs to use 35,000 and 1.22 million members in 200 countries and regions worldwide, making only the second man polio disease after smallpox to the brink of extinction are crowded. The order was facilitated by the Rotary partner immediately drawn: the WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF. The Bill and Melinda Foundation joined in 2007, followed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, last year alone. The 32-year initiative must rely on volunteers and donations to more than 2.5 billion children run by an army of 20 million workers in the field of vaccines produced at a cost of about $17 billion. Some countries have been a slight rise compared to others. In the US the disease was eradicated in 1979, well before the GPEI began its work. Other nations have followed: in 1994, the Americas were declared free from polio. Europe as a whole has declared a clean bill of health in 2002, when all 53 countries of the WHO European Region were designated free of the virus. The vaccination Massive efforts started in India in 1997, which wiped out the virus in 2014. As eradicated polio from the African continent, but Africa, with its vast spread of the village population, long distances to urban hospitals, infrastructure patches as sufficient roads and reliable “cold chain” -refrigerated transport networks vital vaccine-was always going to be aware of particular challenges. In 1996, when the number of cases in the continent 75,000 victims every year, South African President Nelson Mandela a collaboration with Rotary has regularly reached the “Kick Polio out of Africa” ​​campaign, and the group quickly climbed or as quickly as it was possible to start with so many children so large mass vaccination of land on. In 2000, the first synchronized campaign began in 17 countries, with 76 million children are vaccinated by tens of thousands of volunteers. The fan work across the continent from there, including a particularly serious blow 2008-2010, when an outbreak in 24 countries in West and Central Africa has been achieved by a large-scale vaccination of 85 million children multinationals. Finally, Nigeria stood alone as the only African country where the disease was endemic of religious leaders in the northern part of the country, in part because of opposition to Western interference in local affairs, it objected arguing that the vaccine does not he was safe. This opposition is broken, families thanks to Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano city hereditary chief of a decision derived in a public ceremony before the kick off of the campaign appeared to a seasonal vaccine in 2016, called for a vials of polio vaccine be brought on stage and look at the audience, he broke its seal and drank its contents down. recorded this year, the country’s last case of polio, and this year, the WHO certification Nigeria is the reward for his efforts. “The polio eradication program in Nigeria went through difficult times, but I never doubted once in mind that this day would come,” says Dr. Tunji Funsho, a former cardiologist, president of the Rotary International Polio Committee Also in Nigeria. “Every time we have experienced a setback was Rotary and our partners will be able to find solutions and to develop new strategies to reach the most vulnerable children.” Next steps towards eliminating other global challenges remain. On the one hand there is persistent polio hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Funsho is cautiously optimistic. “Afghanistan and Pakistan have their challenges in the fight against wild poliovirus, but so has the Africa region and Nigeria,” he says. “I can not put a stamp when the wild polio will be eradicated in the other two countries. The lessons we have learned in Nigeria and in the African region, show that removal can only be achieved through global engagement.” What is polio wilder, is not the only type that causes the disease. The oral polio vaccine contains a live but attenuated virus, which in rare cases can change the very conduct and designed the disease is to prevent. There have been local in both countries and not interested in 302 cases of vaccine-derived polio this year has been located all over and not as widespread as it can be the wild polio. Again, this sample of previous standards small but still too many children Standard and families who are their victims. Finally Stop these infections means that they can not cause the disease to the virus oral vaccine, live with the supplement injectable variety that uses a killed virus. The killed vaccine disadvantage: requires health professionals trained to administer the shots, as volunteers, in contrast, can easily learn to place drops in the mouth of a child. The last round of vaccination is therefore more expensive and labor-intensive previous round, but only after the handful of vaccine-derived cases must be eliminated, the scourge of polio last step in history. Funsho and others are convinced that it will happen. “One thing I know for sure,” he says, “if Nigeria could eliminate the wild polio virus, every country can eliminate it.”
Picture copyright by Pius Utomu Ekpei -AFP / Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *