Wild Polio Eradicated from Africa

The ARCC – Independent Africa Regional Certification for the eradication of Polio revealed that the World Health Organization…

The ARCC – Independent Africa Regional Certification for the eradication of Polio revealed that the World Health Organization of the African Region is free of poliovirus.

This declaration is linked to achieving the goal of eradicating polio from all areas of the world. In fact, 5 out of the 6 regions under the World Health Organization have been certified free from polio.

Today is a historic day for Africa. The African Regional Certification Commission for Polio eradication is pleased to announce that the Region has successfully met the certification criteria for wild polio eradication, with no cases of the wild poliovirus reported in the region for four years.

Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke (ARCC Chairperson).

The decision of the ARCC is coming after the analysis and documentation of its immunization, surveillance, and laboratory capacity of the 47 member states of the region.

Since the year 1988, the number of polio cases has dropped by 99.9%, with the detection of the last wild poliovirus case coming in 2016.

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While the removal of poliovirus from the African region of WHO has comes as a big achievement, it should be noted that in the region 16 countries are experiencing CVDPV2 – circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (CVDPV2) outbreaks; this can come up in communities.

Vaccines derived for polioviruses are rare strains of the virus, which mutated genetically from the strains present in the oral polio vaccine.

Episodes of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus are rare. Over the past ten years—a period during which more than 10 billion doses of oral polio vaccine were given worldwide—cVDPV outbreaks resulted in fewer than 800 cases.


To take a look at the increasing challenge of circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses, the new ‘Strategy for the Response to Type 2 Circulating Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus 2020-2021’ is focused on working with at-risk and affected countries to control circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses outbreaks ongoing across the African Region.\

With the innovations and expertise that the polio program has established, I am confident that we can sustain the gains, post-certification, and eliminate cVDPV2.

Pascal Mkanda (MD, Coordinator of WHO Polio Eradication Program in the African Region).

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