WHO declares Nigeria, Africa polio-free

WHO declares Nigeria, Africa polio-free

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The independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication officially declared the World Health Organisation (WHO) African Region is free of wild poliovirus.

This marks eradication of the second virus from the face of the continent since smallpox 40 years ago.

The last case of wild poliovirus in the region was detected in 2016 in Nigeria.

In a statement, the ARCC Chairperson, Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke, said: “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.

“The ARCC’s decision comes after an exhaustive, decades-long process of documentation and analysis of polio surveillance, immunization and laboratory capacity of the region’s 47 member states, which included conducting field verification visits to each country.”

In 1996, African Heads of State committed to eradicate polio during the Thirty-Second Ordinary Session of the Organisation of African Unity in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
At the time, polio was paralysing an estimated 75,000 children, annually, on the African continent.

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