Kenya to host African forum to review progress towards polio eradication

NAIROBI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Kenya in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) will next week host a pan-African conference to review progress made towards elimination of polio in the continent, the UN health agency said on Friday evening.

The Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication (ARCC) meeting to be held in Nairobi from Nov. 12-16 will review progress the continent has made towards being certified free from the debilitating viral ailment.

During this meeting, seven countries including Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa will submit report on efforts being made to eradicate polio.

The host country Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Namibia are expected to submit evidence indicating they remained free from wild polio virus.

Nigeria remains the only wild poliovirus endemic African country while efforts have been intensified to contain its spread in vulnerable countries like Niger, Kenya, Somalia and DRC.

Rudi Eggers, WHO representative in Kenya, hailed the progress African countries have made towards polio eradication but stressed that enhanced vigilance is key to prevent it from recurring.

“Countries across Africa are taking great strides towards polio eradication. However, this is a virus that is very good at hiding, and if we miss it, that would have grave consequences for eradication efforts,” said Rudi.

WHO says the world is on the verge of polio eradication while the disease is endemic to only three countries namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

The African region in particular has made great strides towards halting the transmission of wild polio virus since 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was established.

WHO has partnered with African governments to scale up polio vaccination, surveillance and hygiene education as means to contain the highly contagious viral disease that leads to paralysis of affected patients.

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