WHO to declare Africa polio-free

According to New Vision,the World Health Organisation is set to certify Africa free from polio. This follows four years since the last case in Northeastern Nigeria.

In a statement, WHO thanked governments, donors,frontline workers and communities for their relentless effort. WHO further noted that 1.8 million children were saved from the crippling life-long paralysis.

Tinji Funsho a Nigerian doctor and local anti-polio coordinator for Rotary International stated that the marathon has taken 30 years and marks a great level in eradicating the disease at world level.

Poliomyelitis or ‘wild polio’ is an acutely infectious and contagious disease that attacks the spinal cord and causes irreversible paralysis in children. It was an endemic around the world until a vaccine was discovered in the 1950s. However most poor communities were still far from access to the vaccine in Africa and Asia.

This year, only a total of 87 cases have been reported in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The official statement via videoconferencing with WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and key figures like philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates will be at 1500 GMT.

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