Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

1488: Somalia Polio Free

Expand Messages
  • Sunil K Zachariah
    Somalia scores `historic polio-free achievement By Dan Nixon and Vivian Fiore In a triumph over violence, poverty, and poor infrastructure, Somalia has once
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Somalia scores `historic' polio-free achievement
      By Dan Nixon and Vivian Fiore

      In a triumph over violence, poverty, and poor infrastructure, Somalia
      has once again become polio-free. The Global Polio Eradication
      Initiative (GPEI) announced on 25 March that the West African nation
      hasn't reported a case of polio since a year ago. Although it
      eradicated the disease in 2002, Somalia became reinfected in 2005 by
      poliovirus originating in Nigeria, resulting in an outbreak of 228

      Innovative approaches tailored to conflict areas were pivotal in
      conquering polio in Somalia. More than 10,000 volunteers and health
      workers used several doses of monovalent vaccines to immunize
      children in insecure areas in a short period. With strong community
      support, the effort succeeded in reaching more than 1.8 million
      children under age five across one of the most dangerous countries on

      "This truly historic achievement shows that polio can be eradicated
      everywhere, even in the most challenging and difficult settings,"
      says Dr. Hussein A. Gezairy, director of the World Health
      Organization's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office.

      One of Somalia's volunteers and health workers is Ali Mao Moallim,
      the last person on earth to contract smallpox — the first disease
      eradicated worldwide — in 1977. Working with the World Health
      Organization, he has traveled extensively in his country to immunize
      children against polio and promote community support for immunization
      campaigns. "Somalia was the last country with smallpox," he says. "I
      wanted to help ensure that we would not be the last place with polio

      "Somalia beat polio in the midst of more widespread conflict and
      poverty than that affecting Afghanistan and Pakistan," says Dr.
      Maritel Costales, a UNICEF senior health adviser in New York, who
      cited the challenges of overcoming widespread insecurity and large
      population movements in a country with no central government. "But
      Somalia shows that when communities are engaged, children everywhere
      can be reached."

      Afghanistan and Pakistan, which together accounted for 5 percent of
      all polio cases in 2007, could be the first of the four remaining
      endemic countries — the other two are India and Nigeria — to end

      Consistent financial commitment continues to be crucial to polio
      eradication. Rotary International, the top private-sector contributor
      and volunteer arm of the GPEI, has contributed US$9.2 million for
      polio eradication in Somalia and $700 million worldwide since 1985.
      The global effort faces a shortage of $525 million for 2008-09,
      funding urgently needed to fight the disease in the remaining endemic
      countries and protect children in high-risk polio-free areas.

      "Somalia clearly shows that the tailored tools and tactics of the
      intensified eradication effort are working," says Mohamed Benmejdoub,
      chair of Rotary's Eastern Mediterranean PolioPlus Committee. "A polio-
      free world is a feasible public health goal and a global public good.
      I urge governments across the world — and in particular the G-8
      countries — to rapidly make available the necessary resources.
      Together, we can ensure that no child need ever again suffer the
      terrible pain of lifelong polio paralysis."

      Source: Rotary International News
      Courtesy: eFlash_Rotary
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.