Africa now declared polio-free

The African Region has been certified polio-free after four years without a case.

The Africa Regional Certification Commission has announced that the the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region is now free of the wild poliovirus. Five of the six WHO regions are now free of the disease, which covers over 90% of the world’s population.

Polio often affects children under five, which causes irreversible paralysis. Thousands of children in Africa were paralysed by this virus 25 years ago. Now, the disease is only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“This is one of the greatest achievements in public health history,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus co-wrote in an opinion piece published in Al Jazeera.

“Delivering polio vaccines to every child in the African region and wiping out the wild virus is no small feat, and the human resources, skills and experience gained in the process leave behind a legacy in how to tackle diseases and reach the poorest and most marginalised communities with lifesaving services,” Tedros and Holger Knaack, president of Rotary International, also wrote.

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