African experts discuss polio

Dr. kaluwa (second from right) , followed by Dr. Afisah with other dignitries on the high table  at the meetingThe 2016 annual meeting of the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for poliomyelitis eradication, opened in Accra yesterday.

The weeklong meeting would afford members the opportunity to update their knowledge in global polio eradication.

The meeting is expected to also review the documentation of the sate of poliomyelitis in Algeria and Cape Verde.

It was been attended by health professionals from Central African Republic, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde and Algeria.

Professor Rose Leke, Chairperson of the ARCC, said the meeting would review progresses made in the eradication of polio in the participating countries and update the draft ARCC 2017 plan of action.

She said the meeting was taking place at a time when Nigeria, after two years without a polio case, reported four polio virus cases in Jere, Gwoza and Monguno, due to insecurity of Borno state, Nigeria, and has therefore been placed on the list of endemic countries.

“We, the ARCC call for high quality activities, high level advocacy and adequate resources, to overcome the situation for the African region to become polio free once and for all,” she said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Ghana, Dr. Owen Laws Kaluwa, said the global plan to introduce one dose of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into the routine immunisation programme was in progress though it had been put on hold briefly.

He said the Noguchi Polio laboratory in Ghana, was conducting a pilot study on environmental sampling surveillance with support from the WHO country office, as pilot for future polio surveillance activity.

Dr. Kaluwa said the polio outbreak in Nigeria and Lake Chad was of concern to all West African countries, saying “We are confident that current efforts and Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners support to Nigeria authorities, will address the situation and help interrupt transmission as soon as possible”.

He stated that Ghana has a preparedness and response plan, to respond to any polio outbreak, and would continue to work to keep the political commitment to sustain the polio free status of the country.

Ghana’s polio eradication initiative begun in 1996 and is satisfactorily ongoing.

The routine oral polio vaccination coverage is successful though with challenges in some districts, with Greater Accra being the most challenged for achieving surveillance indicators.


By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey


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