Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Somalia - Some Good News

Polio has been eradicated from Somalia, despite the absence of a functioning central government in the war-torn country.

The announcement comes from the World Health Organization and is the result of a mass movement of volunteers and health workers who have implemented a pioneering immunization programme over recent years.

The 10,000-strong team of Somali volunteers successfully visited every household in every settlement across the entire country several times to administer the polio vaccine to more than 1.8 million children under the age of five. This was achieved without any national database and against the backdrop of mass migration and widespread conflict between rival militias, government forces and Ethiopian troops.

Mass community participation and repeat vaccinations within short time periods have been factors in the programme's success, which has resulted in health workers not reporting a single case of the disease since March 2007.

"This truly historic achievement shows that polio can be eradicated everywhere, even in the most challenging and difficult settings," said Dr Hussein A Gezairy, Regional Director for the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Polio remains in only four countries - Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria. Stopping the disease in these nations would result in the complete eradication of the polio from the planet.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

No comments: