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WHO updates Journalists on polio campaign

May 27, 2010, 2:30 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

The World Health Organisation (WHO) office in The Gambia recently held a press briefing at its office in Kotu to update the media on the fight against polio virus.

According to the officials at WHO, the second round of the synchronised campaign to vaccinate children against polio in 16 West African countries, including The Gambia, has been completed.

They however maintained that polio still remains a highly infections disease that mainly affects children under five years of age, by invading the nervous system which can cause total paralysis in a matter of hour.

According to Dr. Thomas Sukwa, WHO representative in The Gambia, polio is a disease caused by the poliomyelitis virus and is transmitted by facal-oral route. He said it mainly affects children under five years old and attacks the central nervous system.

Noting that its initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting and neck stiffness, he said when fatal it usually results in paralysis of muscles of the extremities.

Dr. Thomas Sukwa further told journalist that "an effective vaccine (OPV) exists and is given orally at the age of 2,3 and 4 months multiple doses of OVP."

Dr. Thomas Sukwa also revealed that in 1988, the World Health Assembly had adopted the resolution to eradicate polio by 2000.

"Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a coalition of partners, including WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International, private foundation, BL, ML, NGOs and Individuals," he stated.

Dilating on the role of the media, WHO Rep. urged pressmen to improve their knowledge on polio, support public sensitisation campaigns, use their skills to package information in a comprehensible language, write feature articles and dedicate columns to the fight against polio, and promote good hygiene practices in homes and communities.