Polio vaccine beginning of adequate health care in Africa
As of today, Africa has reached eight months without any additional wild polio cases. This is the first time that the nation has made such an achievement.
“Increasing vaccine uptake in Africa, specifically for polio, is such a huge task,” IFRC's Africa health care coordinator Adinoyi Ben Adeiza said. “We are faced with communities living in very remote areas or nomadic, fragile and conflict situations. The issue of access is exacerbated by suspicion and socio-cultural barriers. We have seen first-hand how our Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers, who are trusted by their communities, can substantially increase vaccine uptake.”
Most of the world's polio cases confirmed in 2013 occurred in Africa. In 2013, the entire region of sub-Saharan Africa and the Central African Republic had the lowest number of polio vaccines. Only 23 percent of children living in Central African Republic received theirs, while Nigeria is still one of the three remaining countries to have an endemic status for polio.
“We believe every child can be reached but only if we invest seriously in the capacity and sustained engagement of local organizations and our local community health workforce,” IFRC Africa Director Alasan Senghore said. “In order to achieve success, and prove once and for all that all children deserve the same life-saving vaccines and access to the same health services, no matter who they are or where they live, we must act quickly and in partnership with each other to dramatically increase vaccination coverage.”