By Vincess Okushi

African Ministers and stakeholders in the Health sector have pledged their unwavering commitment to the elimination of all forms of virus in the region.

This was made known at the gathering of the Seventy-third session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa on 30th August in Gaborone, Botswana.

The commitment is bound by this year’s anniversary since the last confirmed detection of wild poliovirus type 1, in the African region

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said the region’s last confirmed case of wild poliovirus, linked to a strain circulating in Pakistan, Mozambique’s Tete province in August 2022, as nine cases were detected in both Mozambique and neighboring Malawi, where an outbreak was confirmed in February 2022.

She said this led to the coordinated response of more than 45 million children vaccinated against the virus across five southern African countries.

One year without wild polio detection reflects the great effort by countries and partner organizations to halt this virus. But until we reach every child and ensure adequate vaccine coverage and protection, the fight is not over

WHO remains committed to supporting national efforts to address all the challenges towards a polio-free Africa

The health leaders admonished the pivotal role of enhanced polio surveillance, high-quality vaccination campaigns, and timely outbreak response, including rapid deployment of experts and other field responders to curb the virus

They harped on the need for continuous collaboration stressing that even though the region has been certified free of wild poliovirus, the region is witnessing a resurgence of circulating variant polioviruses in areas where the virus has not been reported for decades due to a decline in immunization coverage and the disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic on essential health services.

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