Monday, August 14, 2017 10:03 pm
Somalia and the UN on Monday in Mogadishu celebrated the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the country has been polio free for three years.
The event attended by the President of Somalia, parliamentarians, delegates from the Somali Ministry of Health, WHO and UN Children’s Fund, marked a milestone occasion of three years since the detection of the last case of wild poliovirus in the country.
“In 2013, Somalia was at the epicentre of a polio outbreak in the Horn of Africa which paralyzed 200 children,” the UN said.
Since then, the country worked with the UN to ramp up its vaccination programme to stop the spread of the disease.
At the event, WHO applauded Somalia’s efforts to ward off the highly infectious virus while urging continued caution and vigilance.
The three-year polio-free milestone comes amidst the worst outbreak of measles the country has seen in years, as well as an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea/cholera, which began in January.
WHO said that polio systems and networks were being used to tackle these outbreaks and reach as many children as possible.
Somalia stopped endemic poliovirus transmission in 2002 but had been twice affected by importations of the virus.
The outbreak that erupted in the Horn of Africa three years ago paralysed close to 200 children. Somalia was at the epicenter and most affected, accounting for more than 90 per cent of these cases.