WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Health officials discuss elimination of polio in Africa

Health officials discuss elimination of polio in Africa. | Courtesy of foreignaffairs.co.nz
Health officials recently met to discuss the best ways to maintain the eradication of polio in Ethiopia and Africa, a meeting held in light of an outbreak of wild polio virus in the Horn of Africa.

“Strong leadership, political will and coordination are key to sustaining the gains made in interrupting polio transmission in Ethiopia and Africa,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Margaret Chan said. “Horn of Africa countries should continue to immunize all at risk age groups until the threat drops to zero and eradication is achieved. And this is possible only through high-quality immunization activities for all communities.”

In August 2013, the outbreak spread to Ethiopia.

“The Government of Ethiopia continues to be committed to eradicating polio from Ethiopia, and Africa,” Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Ethiopian minister of health, said. “Ethiopia will continue to engage communities for active participation in routine immunization and will continue to build strong health partnerships.”

Health and government officials heightened their surveillance, vigilance and mass immunization campaigns in order to improve control of the virus.

“Immunization, especially routine immunization, is a core priority within UNICEF, and it will continue to be,” Yoka Brandt, UNICEF deputy executive director, said. “With the availability of new innovations, new vaccines and new research and evidence, we can go fast and far.”

Various leaders from around the world recently met to discuss better ways of maintaining the elimination of polio.

“Strong routine immunization systems are a bedrock of healthy societies and are central to global plans for the eradication of polio,” The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said. “By working together, we are reaching more children than ever before with lifesaving vaccines and the GAVI partners are committed to supporting countries like Ethiopia to sustain and build on their progress on immunization.”

Organizations in this story

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