Polio has been officially declared eradicated from the African continent.
The independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication officially declared on Tuesday that the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region is free of wild poliovirus.
This marks the eradication of the second virus from the face of the continent since smallpox 40 years ago.
“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,” said Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke, ARCC Chairperson.
This certification of wild #poliovirus eradication in the African region is a great reflection of Ubuntu. It reflects the great commitments of the public, private, donor agencies; health professionals; everyone who came together under one goal, to eradicate #polio in Africa.
As of 1996, polio was paralyzing an estimated 75,000 children, annually, on the African continent. In the same year, Nelson Mandela with the support of Rotary International jumpstarted Africa’s commitment to polio eradication with the launch of the Kick Polio Out of Africa campaign. Mandela’s call mobilized African nations and leaders across the continent to step up their efforts to reach every child with the polio vaccine.
Since then, polio eradication efforts have prevented up to 1.8 million children from crippling life-long paralysis and saved approximately 180,000 lives. Today, there is no recorded case of any Africa child suffering from polio. The last case of wild poliovirus in the region was detected in 2016 in Nigeria.
Thanks to the dedication of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, polio cases have reduced by 99.9% since 1988, bringing the world closer than ever before to ending polio. The initiative is a public-private global partnership comprising national governments; WHO; Rotary International; the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; UNICEF; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Federal and State Ministries of Health and a broad range of long-term supporters, both local and international.
Congratulations to Africa, Congratulation Nigeria, We are #polio free…