By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
Polio eradication worldwide appears closer to complete in the near future, however, it will require a continued high level of commitment from all countries to ensure all people are vaccinated and that new cases can be promptly detected by high-quality surveillance, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the last two years, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has taken important steps in three geographical locations where the polio virus outbreaks that causes the disease appear to be clustered- the Horn of Africa, Central Africa and the Middle East – to nip the virus outbreak before it start.
Nigeria, another country where the poliovirus infection has persisted until recently has not reported any new cases since July 2014.
However, the disease is still active in circulation in locations such as Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2015, where efforts are continually challenged by conflict and security threats.
Worldwide elimination of polio will require a continued commitment to strengthened surveillance to promptly detect new cases and high quality vaccination campaigns with new approaches to reach and vaccinate children in the few remaining pockets of infection.
Last month, African Union’s Chair Dr. Dlamini-Zuma, U.S. Secretary of States John Kerry, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to support the establishment of an African version of American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet the health needs of the 54 countries on the continent.
The CDC, which was established 70 years ago in response to a malaria epidemic in United States at that time, is urgently needed in Africa right now given the current health crisis, Ebola that some countries are still experiencing on the continent.
The health institution will allow the continent to be able to quickly detect, prevent and response effectively to health threats and disease outbreaks before they become too massive by ways of quickly sharing information among regions.
According to the agreement, the U.S. will provide technical expertise and support to the institution as well as provide medical experts to train staff and fellowships to African epidemiologists.
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