Let’s eradicate polio in the country!

Aug 24, 2021, 1:11 PM

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus.

The virus invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. Experts believe the virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (for example, contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine.

The Ministry of Health has sounded the alarm of yet another health emergency- the polio virus type two in The Gambia. This comes following two environmental samples collected from sewage sites in Banjul and Kotu, testing positive for poliovirus type two.

The disturbing news comes as the globe is faced with a serious challenge in tackling the variants corona virus pandemic.  Around the globe, the virus causes the deaths of thousands of children annually.

With this recent development, there is need for increased surveillance of polio in the country by intensifying search for other sites to trace any imminent case. Also, there is need for timely reporting of polio cases in all health facilities by reporting and investigation of all children under fifteen years.

Polio is a serious health emergency that results in sudden onset of paralysis or weakness in the arms or legs and expansion of environmental surveillance. It could be recalled that in 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched to guide global efforts in polio eradication.

Since then, the once global threatening disease decreased considerably in many countries. In the meantime, parents and guardians are encouraged to ensure that all children under the age of five years are fully immunised as per the country's routine immunisation schedule.

We hope the Ministry of Health will work with relevant stakeholders and development partners in confronting the outbreak.

The Ministry and partners should also initiate early nationwide vaccination to counter its further spread. We should bear in mind that in cases of health emergency, timely and early vaccination is vital. This helps efforts to easily contain or reduce the severity of any disease outbreak. Parents should also cooperate and understand that vaccination is in the best interest of their children.

"I had a mild case of polio- not enough to put me in an iron lung, but enough to keep me bedridden for weeks. As i came out of it, my mom wanted to do something for me. She realized that, growing up in the city, I'd missed out on a lot of nature."

Robert Redford

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