WHO announces eradication of polio on the African continent

Polio was declared “extinct” from the African continent by the World Health Organization on Tuesday, after four years in a row without a reported case and massive efforts to immunize children.

The plague of polio, this contagious disease that causes irreversible paralysis in affected children has been eradicated from the African continent, the WHO announced on Tuesday, August 25.

This victory for the international community came after four years in a row without a reported case and massive efforts to immunize children.

“Today, members of the Africa Region Certification Commission (ARCC) – WHO certification body, declare that the transmission of wild poliovirus has been suspended” in Africa, said its President, Dr Rose. Play.

Caused by “wild poliovirus” (WPV), polio is an acute, contagious infectious disease that mainly affects children, attacks the spinal cord and can cause irreversible paralysis.

It was endemic all over the world, until the discovery of a vaccine in the 1950s. The richest countries had quick access to it, but Asia and Africa were long important centers of infection.

Convince the people

In 1988, the WHO counted 350,000 cases worldwide and even more than 70,000 cases in Africa in 1996.

But thanks to rare collective awareness and significant economic efforts ($ 19 billion over 30 years), only two countries in the world today have contamination with “wild polioviruses”: Afghanistan (29 cases by 2020) and Pakistan (58 cases).

The epicenter of the disease in the world in the early 2000s was Nigeria, an African giant with 200 million inhabitants, still very recently on their side.

In the Muslim north, under pressure from Salafist circles, polio vaccination campaigns were stopped between 2003 and 2004, rumored to be the tool of a huge international conspiracy to sterilize Muslims.

The vaccination campaign took a lot of work with traditional and religious leaders to convince people to get their children vaccinated. The awareness work is finally crowned by the announcement of the eradication of the disease on the African continent.

With AFP