By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is close to ending polio in Africa.
“We are close to ending polio. I call on all countries to work together to ensure that this becomes a reality, and the African Region is declared to have eradicated polio by end 2019 or early 2020. Let us all be part of that historical achievement.”
This indication was contained in a World Polio Day message released, in Abuja, on Tuesday, by WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.
Moeti confessed that since the launch of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) nearly 30 years ago, new cases of polio have significantly dropped by over 99.9 percent, 350,000 cases annually in 125 countries, to 22 cases in 2017 in two affected countries.
She agreed that Africa has made tremendous progress as regards polio eradication. “As at 2012, Africa accounted for more than half of the global polio burden, but it dropped steadily from 128 cases in 2012 to four in 2016. It also dropped to zero in 2017 and 2018.”