Africa completely eradicated polio
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Africa completely eradicated polio

`Today we join together to celebrate the historic success of the public health sector, certifying that the polio virus has been completely eliminated from the African region,` Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO, also said.

`The end of the polio virus in Africa is truly a wonderful event. Africa’s success is also the world’s success. None of us could have achieved this if we faced it alone,`

Polio was once a common virus that could attack the nervous system, causing muscle weakness or paralysis in young children.

Since 1996, governments and non-profit organizations have collaborated on long-term vaccination campaigns in Africa to repel the polio virus.

Efforts to completely eradicate the disease are largely through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), established in 1988, led by national governments and five partners: Rotary International, WHO, and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Children in Pakistan receive polio vaccine, July 20.

To ensure the epidemic truly disappeared, officials waited four years after the last case of polio was diagnosed on the continent.

`The decision to declare Africa completely polio-free was made after many years of surveillance, vaccination and laboratory analysis across 47 member countries,` said Rose Gana Fomban Leke, chair of the Certification Committee.

`After a years-long effort, we are now seeing results. This is a great milestone. I can confidently state that over the past four years, Africa has not recorded a single case of the disease

The last case of polio was recorded in Nigeria in 2016. Since 1996, efforts to eradicate the pathogen have protected up to 1.8 million children and saved about 180,000 lives.

`The vaccine-derived polio virus of the past was quickly eradicated after about three rounds of high-quality vaccination. The solution to all polio outbreaks is the same: vaccinate every child extensively

Africa is the next continent to eradicate the polio virus after the Americas, Europe and most of Australia.

`Infections decreased by 99% after 1988, from about 350,000 cases in more than 125 countries to 175 cases reported in 2019,` according to a WHO statement.

Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, warned that more than ever, the world needs to protect the achievements that have been achieved.

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