File: Polio victims

The independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for polio eradication, Tuesday declared Nigeria and other Africa countries polio free.

Disclosing this, Rose Leke, ARCC Chairperson, said: “Today is a historic day for Africa. The African Regional Certification Commission for Polio eradication (ARCC) is pleased to announce that the Region has successfully met the certification criteria for wild polio eradication, with no cases of the wild poliovirus reported in the Region for four years.

“This historic achievement was only possible thanks to the leadership and commitment of governments, communities, global polio eradication partners and philanthropists. I pay special tribute to the frontline health workers and vaccinators, some of whom lost their lives, for this noble cause.

Reacting, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said: “This is a momentous milestone for Africa. Now future generations of African children can live free of wild polio.

“However, we must stay vigilant and keep up vaccination rates to avert a resurgence of the wild poliovirus and address the continued threat of the vaccine-derived polio.

“The expertise gained from polio eradication will continue to assist the African region in tackling COVID-19 and other health problems that have plagued the continent for so many years and ultimately move the continent toward universal health coverage.

“This will be the true legacy of polio eradication in Africa.

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Suffixing to the postulations of Moeti, Mr Pascal Mkanda, coordinator of WHO Polio Eradication Programme in the African region, said: “Africa has demonstrated that despite weak health systems, significant logistical and operational challenges across the continent, African countries have collaborated very effectively in eradicating wild polio virus.

“With the innovations and expertise that the polio programme has established, I am confident that we can sustain the gains, post-certification, and eliminate cVDPV2”.

Vanguard

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