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Polio Remains A Public Health Emergency Of International Concern: World Health Organization

The unvaccinated children have added to an international spread of Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Africa

Polio Remains A Public Health Emergency Of International Concern: World Health Organization
A report by the World Health Organization mentions about the international spread of wild poliovirus type-1 in Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan

Geneva: The World Health Organization in a report said that the risk of the international spread of poliovirus still remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). There are no travel restrictions on Pakistan as of now. The risk of the international spread of Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Africa is based on many factors. “The ongoing transmission in eastern Afghanistan with cross border spread into Pakistan” marks one of the reasons for polio spread in Pakistan, according to the report.
Adding to this, the committee noted the large pool of unvaccinated ‘zero dose’ children in southern Afghanistan constitutes an ongoing risk of WPV1 re-introduction into the southern region. The report said,

Sub-optimal immunization coverage was achieved during campaigns in southeastern Africa, in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, meaning there may be insufficient population immunity to halt transmission.

Also Read: Two New Polio Vaccines Developed To Eradicate Viral Disease

Moreover, in Pakistan, since the last meeting of the committee, there has been one new case of WPV1 with onset on Feb 20, 2023, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. However, the committee noted,

There have been three environmental surveillance positive samples in 2023, two in Punjab and one in KP, the most recent positive sample collected was 21 February 2023. Two of these three ES detections were linked to viruses circulating in Afghanistan.

Also Read: This Is What ‘Health For All’ Looks Like: WHO Chief On India’s Commitment Towards Healthcare And Traditional Medical Practices

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, there have not been any cases reported in 2023 with the last case occurring on August 29, 2022. However, there have been 18 positive environmental samples to date in 2023, all in the eastern region, three from Kunar and 15 from Nangarhar.
Moreover, there have been no new cases reported in the outbreak of WPV1 in southern Africa, with the most recent case having the onset of paralysis on 10 August 2022 in Mozambique. Furthermore, the WHO committee recommended,

Ensure that all residents and long­term visitors (> four weeks) of all ages receive a dose of bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV) or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) between four weeks and 12 months prior to international travel.

Adding to this, it said that such travellers should ensure that they are provided with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis to record their polio vaccination and serve as proof of vaccination. The committee further added,

Restrict at the point of departure the international travel of any resident lacking documentation of appropriate polio vaccination. These recommendations apply to international travellers from all points of departure, irrespective of the means of conveyance.

Also Read: India Among Top Countries With Maximum Childhood Immunisation Coverage: World Health Organization

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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