This is good news amid the dire prospect of the pandemic. In fact, it’s an achievement. Africa is finally polio-free, reported the WHO. This means that 90% of the world’s population already live in areas without this disease. The final phase of its elimination is approaching.
Inspire the world
This is a historic milestone for the African region. The area was declared polio-free after four years without a case. Currently only two countries have a broadcast: Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Africa is polio free. It is one of the greatest public health achievements of our time. It is a powerful inspiration to complete polio eradication worldwide. “It was explained by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General.
Countries have successfully coordinated efforts to address the major problems of child vaccination. There is a high level of population movement, conflict and restrictions on access to health services. The polio program provides health benefits to local communities. The response of the African region to COVID-19 is supported. Immunization against other vaccine-preventable diseases will be increased.
“It is a difficult year for global health. And the certification of the African region as free from wild polio virus is a sign of hope, ”said Holger Knaack. He is president of Rotary International, an international organization that provides humanitarian services.
Without lowering your guard
But we have to be vigilant. Continuous engagement is important to protect advances against polio. It is still a threat. The risk is increased by the vaccination interruptions due to COVID-19. They make communities more vulnerable to other disease outbreaks. Until every strain is eradicated worldwide, the incredible advances that are being made against polio around the world will be jeopardized.
Polio is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It penetrates the nervous system and can lead to paralysis within a few hours. The virus is transmitted from person to person. Mainly by the fecal-oral route, or more rarely via a common vehicle such as contaminated water or food. It multiplies in the intestine.
The first symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections results in irreversible paralysis (usually of the legs). Of these cases, between 5 and 10% die from paralysis of the respiratory muscles.
There is no cure. However, the disease can be prevented with an effective vaccine. Institutions around the world are striving to rapidly increase children’s immunity. The aim is to eliminate polio paralysis.