The World Health Organization, WHO, has called on the African continent to put in place quality surveillance systems to prevent a resurgence of the wild polio virus on the continent.
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WHO Regional Adviser for Immunization in Africa, Dr.
Richard Mihigo, gave the advice in Abuja while speaking on a recently discovered wild polio case in Malawi.
He said the possibility that a virus that had been driven out of the African continent could find its way again, is causing concern.
He also said that the polio epidemic in Malawi was imported and that the polio case in Malawi raises fears that the virus could reappear in the region.
“It is not a polio virus from the indigenous world in Malawi, so for Nigeria, but also for Africa, it is important that we continue to tighten the surveillance system, but also continue to increase the coverage for routine vaccination so that the new cohorts of children who are born are also protected against any type of imported infection,” he advised.
He also explained that it was important for Africans to know that the imported case of polio in Malawi would not affect their WHO polio certification.
“It is clearly not an indigenous virus that was circulating in this country.
Importantly, the last case of wild polio in Malawi was in 1992, almost 30 years ago.
They therefore maintained a very good routine vaccination.
It is also a good illustration of a good quality surveillance system, if it is improved it can detect any case wherever it occurs,” he added.
Mihigo, part of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance team, visiting Nigeria also assesses the progress of routine immunization implementation, polio as well as the progress of COVID vaccination -19, said the WHO has data that is being analyzed in the lab to find out the case was imported.
It should be recalled that a case of a 3-year-old girl who lives on the outskirts of the capital, Lilongwe who was paralyzed on 2 November.
19 showed that she was infected with wild type 1 poliovirus.
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